Did you know that the Greek philosopher Hippocrates (460-377 BC) was the first person to think that epilepsy starts in the brain?
Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal. This disorder causes seizures or periods of unusual behaviour, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.
Anyone can develop epilepsy. It affects both males and females of all races, ethnic backgrounds, and ages. In young people, it is caused due to difficulties at their birth, childhood infections, or accidents. In older people, it comes in the form of strokes that lead to epilepsy. For some people, their epilepsy might ‘go away’ and they stop having seizures.
Fact – Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disease after migraines, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.
Around 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and it affects the lives of many more. Despite this, there is still an overwhelming stigma regarding the disorder, and a huge number of people remain ignorant of the many ways in which epilepsy can impact the lives of the people who are afflicted. We at TABIIB are here with a list of some of the most familiar myths and misconceptions around epilepsy.
Myths and misconceptions:
1.People with epilepsy are disabled and can’t work.
People with epilepsy have the same range of abilities and intelligence as the rest of us. While some have severe seizures and cannot work; most are successful and productive in challenging careers.
2.You can’t tell what a person might do during a seizure.
Seizures commonly take a characteristic form and the individual will do much the same thing during each episode. Behaviour may be inappropriate for the time and place, but it is unlikely that they will cause harm to anyone.
3.People with epilepsy are physically limited in what they can do.
In most cases, epilepsy isn’t a barrier to physical achievement, although some individuals are more severely affected and may be limited in what they can do.
4.With today’s medication, epilepsy is largely a solved problem.
Epilepsy is a chronic medical problem that for many people can be successfully treated with medication. Unfortunately, the treatment doesn’t work for everyone, and there is a critical need for more research.
5. You should force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure.
Absolutely not! The correct first aid is simple. Gently roll the person on one side and put something soft under his or her head for protection from injury. Remember, never put anything into a person’s mouth if they are having a seizure.
6.If you’ve had a seizure, you have epilepsy.
A person is diagnosed with epilepsy when he or she has two or more unprovoked “out of the blue” seizures that occur more than 24 hours apart. But when something provokes a seizure, such as binge-drinking, sleep deprivation, or a new medication, these are not related to epilepsy.
7. Women with epilepsy can’t or shouldn’t get pregnant.
Epilepsy does not generally affect a woman’s ability to conceive and has a minimal effect on a child’s development. However, if women are taking anti-epileptic drugs, the risk of birth defects can range from 2% to 10%.
8. All people with Epilepsy lose consciousness and have convulsions.
The most common seizure we see on TV is called a ‘tonic-clonic seizure’. This is where a person falls to the ground and starts to shake. Tonic-clonic seizures are one of over 40 different types, some of which include quick muscle twitches, a brief loss of awareness, confusion, or disorientation. A convulsive seizure was previously called a fit.
9. If someone has a seizure they have to be hospitalised.
Not all seizures require hospitalisation. Most often, the person will just need time to rest and recover after a seizure, which they might be able to do at work, school, or home.
Don’t let the myths and misconceptions that surround epilepsy cause you concern and anxiety. If you get information from any source, that makes you uncomfortable, get another opinion. You can always book a video consultation with a top neurologist on the TABIIB website or app and use the gathered information to educate your friends and family about Epilepsy.