Epilepsy is an abnormal medical condition due to abnormal electrical discharge from the brain, which could be due to genetic defects, brain injury,brain infection,brain tumor etc.
Recent study shows, patients with awareness, knowledge and attitude towards the disease had better health related quality of life.
Myths and facts about epilepsy
Is epilepsy a very rare disorder?
No. Epilepsy is not a very rare disorder. Epilepsy affects 50 million people worldwide. In India, epilepsy has been identified as a public health problem.
Epilepsy is a mental illness?
It is not a mental illness but disorder of the brain.
Are people with epilepsy violent or crazy?
No. The belief that people with epilepsy are violent is an unfortunate image that is both wrong and destructive. People with epilepsy have no greater tendency toward severe irritability and aggressive behaviours than other people. However, once the attack is over, they return to normalcy and usually display normal behaviour in between attacks.
Are children with epilepsy dull?
Except for children who are born with obvious mental handicaps, children with epilepsy have normal intelligence and should be encouraged by parents and teachers to attend school and complete their education.
Is epilepsy a curse or wrath of God?
No. Epilepsy has nothing to do with curses, possession or other supernatural processes, such as punishment for past sins.
Does epilepsy spread through touching or coughing?
No, epilepsy does not spread through touching or coughing.
Does the use of an onion, metal, etc., help in terminating an ongoing epileptic attack?
No. Some people think that an epileptic attack can be terminated by making the person smell onions or dirty shoes, or by placing a metal key in the person's hand. These are irrational beliefs.
Are epilepsy medications ineffective?
No. Epilepsy medicines are very essential for the control of epileptic attacks and should not be neglected.
Is marriage a cure for epilepsy?
No. Marriage is an important aspect of life but not a cure for epilepsy.
Epilepsy is hereditary hence unfit to get married?
Epilepsy is not a hereditary disorder, and the tendency of epilepsy being passed is only about 3 %, therefore no bar for marriage.
Women suffering from epilepsy cannot have children?
Epilepsy or anti-epileptic drugs cannot affect fertility, even during pregnancy, women can take their medicines under their doctor’s supervision.
Is life of a person with epilepsy miserable?
No. Life of a person with epilepsy can be very manageable and very similar to life of people without epilepsy provided you have a positive approach towards life.
Is epilepsy a hindrance in leading a happy and successful life?
No. People with epilepsy can live a happy and successful life. With the advent of newer medicines, availability of medical care and increased awareness of the condition, it has become possible for a person with epilepsy to lead a good life. There are many famous poets, writers and sportsmen with epilepsy who have excelled in their respective fields.
Special Precautions in Children with Epilepsy
Computerized and Lights:
Up to 5% of children with epilepsy have photosensitive epilepsy. Computers and TVs with a flat screen do not flicker and, so, are less likely to trigger seizures than screens that flicker. However, flashing lights/ flickering screen can act as trigger in photosensitive epilepsy patients.
Exams and Tests:
For Children who are likely to have seizures in stressful situations or at certain times of the day, this may affect how they perform in exams or tests. Tiredness, memory or concentration problems may also affect exams or tests. Tiredness, memory or concentration problems may also affect exams.
Physical Activities and Lessons:
Safety is important for all children, especially during physical activities and lessons, such as when studying science. Epilepsy does not need to stop a child from doing an activity as long as he or she is safe.
This must be allowed only in the presence of trusted lifeguards. It is essential that the swimming coach and the lifeguards fully understand a child’s epilepsy so they can quickly see if the child is having a seizure in the water.