Epilepsy and Myths: An Unholy Alliance

In spite of extensive research all over the world, the condition called Epilepsy has not yet been fully understood. However, we have enough evidence to explain its underlying mechanism and rationale for treatment. Over the many years that epilepsy survived, it has evolved into what we now term as a ‘disorder’. Various medical explanations and hypotheses have been embraced by a major section of the society. However, the long-standing myths and misconceptions still exist in different parts of the world. Many children with epilepsy in India are still a victim of these myths. I have tried exploring some of these in this article. The misconception listed below are the common ones.

Epilepsy is contagious

It is not. This means that you can’t ‘catch’ epilepsy from another person.

Only Children suffer from epilepsy

Most of the epilepsy syndromes begin in childhood. However, epilepsy can start in adulthood and older age. These individuals usually have symptomatic epilepsy, most commonly secondary to strokes and heart diseases.

People with epilepsy shouldn’t be in a job of responsibility

Epilepsy is still a stigma in our society, and not many people like to disclose or talk about having epilepsy. However, people with epilepsy are found in all walks of life and at all levels of business, government, arts and other professions. We aren’t always aware of them because they are no different to any one of us.

You can’t die from epilepsy

Epilepsy is a serious and life threatening condition and therefore, treatment to control seizures is important, Epilepsy can directly be a cause of death in accidental drowning, motor accidents and falls from heights. Prolonged seizures (fits) in individuals with epilepsy also called ‘status epilepticus’ can lead to death. ‘Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy’ (SUDEP) is a well reported but poorly understood reason of explained death in individuals with epilepsy.

People with epilepsy are mentally handicapped

Certainly, many individuals with symptomatic epilepsy or poorly controlled epilepsy can have sub-optimal intellectual and cognitive ability. However, most of the individuals with epilepsy have normal IQ and cognition. It must be remembered that epilepsy is not the same as mental retardation. Epilepsy doctor dubai ,DR. ARIF KHAN Epilepsy doctor dubai ,DR. ARIF KHAN , Founding CEO & Medical Director For Neuropedia. Consultant Pediatric Neurologist

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