By Krupali Chokshi
There are various myths surrounding Epilepsy that make it a “fearful” and puzzling condition. It is these false ideas that lead to the misunderstandings associated with the condition. For example, in the 19th century, people with severe epilepsy were kept isolated because people though seizures were contagious! Furthermore, some states had laws forbidding people with the condition to marry or become parents. It’s thus important to bust these myths and understand the truth behind epilepsy! Here are a few common misconceptions available from the official site for Epilepsy in Canada:
Myth: You should put something in the mouth of someone having a seizure.
Fact: You should not put something in the mouth of someone having a seizure; you should simply roll them on their side and put something soft under their head to protect them from injuring themselves! In fact, you should not restrain the seizure in any way, it will run its course and you cannot stop it.
Myth: Only kids get epilepsy.
Fact: Epilepsy affects a wide range of people, of all different ages. In the elderly, seizures from epilepsy often occur with other health problems like stroke or health disease.
Myth: People with epilepsy are disabled and can’t work.
Fact: Epilepsy is a “spectrum disorder” which means the causes, seizure types and severity levels can vary greatly from person to person. While some may have severe seizures and cannot work, others can be successful in challenging careers. In fact, people with epilepsy are found in a wide range of careers and often keep their condition hidden because of the stigma associated with it.
Myth: Epilepsy is not a common disorder.
Fact: Epilepsy is a very prevalent disorder that affects 2.3 million Americans and about 65 million people worldwide. About 150,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with the condition every year. Additionally 1 in 3 Americans knows someone who has epilepsy.
Myth: People with epilepsy are violent and seizures are something to be feared and maybe harmful.
Fact: People with epilepsy are not violent or generally more aggressive than most people. Seizures are unlikely to cause harm to anyone else and are not to be feared! It is important to give the correct first aid when needed. Generally, people affected by epilepsy do the same thing during each episode.
Myth: Epilepsy is a life-long disorder.
Fact: Thankfully, people with epilepsy have seizures and require medication for only a small part of their lives. Most people who have seizures have epilepsy that can be easily controlled. Only 25% may develop difficult to control seizures that may last a lifetime. Most childhood forms of epilepsy are outgrown by adulthood.
- Devinsky, Orrin. "Facts and Myths about Epilepsy." epilepsy.com. N.p., 8 Nov. 2013. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. <https://www.epilepsy.com/101/ep101_facts>.
- Fletcher, Sally. "Facts and Myths About Epilepsy." Epilepsy Health: Alternative & Complementary Treatments & Therapy for Epileptic Seizures. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. <http://www.epilepsyhealth.com/fact-myth.html>.
- "Misinformation & Myths." The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. <http://www.end-epilepsy.org/api/Index.cfm/cms.page/i/4230/Misinformation-&-Myths>.