Epilepsy Myths: Dispelling the Misconceptions about Epilepsy

Epilepsy Myths: Dispelling the Misconceptions about Epilepsy/Epilepsy Superstitions.

Today is World Epilepsy Day and I have decided to talk about the numerous myths and misconceptions out there about epilepsy. This is based on a short interview I did to access the knowledge attitude and practice of persons towards epileptic persons.

Now let us fact check some mythsūüĎá

Myth 1. Epilepsy is a contagious disease 

Fact: Epilepsy is NOT a contagious disease. I know many people believe you will ‘contract the disease’ if the saliva of an epileptic person touches you but it is a MYTH and a big lie. You can eat, drink, touch, kiss, date, or marry epileptics.

Myth 2. Only Children Suffer from epilepsy

Fact: Epilepsy knows no age, sex, tribe or religion.  Everybody,  both old and young suffer from epilepsy and it is not peculiar to children. Some pregnant women may also be epileptic.

Epilepsy Myth 3: Epileptics are Witches or Wizards

Fact: There is this misconception and traditional beliefs across the world that people that are epileptic are witches or wizards but this is not true. Epilepsy does not confer supernatural powers.

Epilepsy Myth 4: Epilepsy is caused by spiritual attack 

Fact: Scientifically,  epilepsy has been shown to be caused by abnormal electrical activity of the brain which sometimes runs in the family or could be as a result of difficult childbirth (prolonged labour). It is never a spiritual attack or warfare.  Bury that thought.

Epilepsy myths
Busting epilepsy myths and misconceptions

Myth 5: People  with seizure disorder and handicapped and cannot lead their normal life.  

Fact: Not true. I know persons with epilepsy that are professionals such as doctors,  lawyers,  top businessmen/women, pharmacists,  nurses etc.  They are not helpless and in fact are the bread winners of their families. Many are happily married with children.

Epilepsy Myths 6: Epileptics don’t live long

Fact: This is true if the suferrer is not being treated for the medical condition because without drugs, they may have repeated seizures and may be prone to life threatening accidents. However,  most epileptics these days take their drugs and can live up to a hundred years without having any episode.

Epilepsy Myths 7: Put spoon in their mouths during any episode. 

Fact: Now that we have established that epilepsy is not contagious and you can go close to them, in a bid to help a person having a convulsion, do not insert spoons into their mouth or put their feet or hands in the fire. These unwholesome practices though of noble intentions,  may actually harm or kill the person. Just lie them on the their side and immediately call the ambulance or take them to the hospital.

Myth 8: Epilepsy have no cure/cannot be treated 

Fact: There are effective medications called anti -epileptic drugs that can be used to manage patients with seizure disorder.¬† The good news is,¬† newer ones are being developed yearly. Epileptics who religiously take these drugs as prescribed by their doctors may never have an episode in their lifetime.¬† Furthermore,¬† some children who are taken to the hospital on time,¬† placed on medications and followed up by doctors end up ‘outgrowing’ the condition.

Epilepsy myths 9: Epileptics have low IQ

FACT: There may be some element of truth here as repeated insult to the brain and a result of unmanaged seizure disorder may diminish intellectual ability.  However,  this is not true for persons who actively take their drugs and are seizure free.  In fact,  there will be no difference in intelligence quotient in a treated epileptic and a non-epileptic.

#Stop The Discrimination Against Epileptics #

The end.

Featured Image: St Louis

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