New Delhi: Epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterised by recurrent seizures, has been shrouded in myths and misconceptions for centuries. These misconceptions often contribute to the stigma surrounding the condition, impacting the lives of individuals with epilepsy. On the occasion of International Epilepsy Day, Dr Pavan Pai, Consultant Interventional Neurologist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, listed a few most common myths.
Myth vs facts on epilepsy
Myth 1: Epilepsy is a rare condition.
Fact: Epilepsy is more common than people realize, affecting approximately 1 in 26 people at some point in their lives. It can develop at any age, although it is often diagnosed in childhood or later in life.
Myth 2: People with epilepsy are mentally disabled or intellectually impaired.
Fact: Epilepsy does not necessarily impact intelligence. Many individuals with epilepsy lead perfectly normal lives and excel in various fields. It’s essential to recognize and appreciate the diverse abilities and strengths of people living with epilepsy.
Myth 3: Seizures are always dangerous and require immediate medical intervention.
Fact: While some seizures can be dangerous and require prompt medical attention, not all seizures are emergencies. It is important to assess the situation, provide a safe environment, and offer support. Most seizures are self-limiting and resolve on their own.
Myth 4: Medication alone can cure epilepsy.
Fact: While anti-seizure medications are often effective in controlling seizures, they may not be a cure. Some individuals may require lifelong medication, while others may achieve seizure freedom after a certain period. Treatment plans vary, and regular medical supervision is crucial.
Myth 5: Epilepsy is contagious.
Fact: Epilepsy is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from one person to another through physical contact or proximity. It is a medical condition rooted in the brain’s functioning and should not be a cause for fear or discrimination.
Myth 6: Epilepsy is always a result of a genetic predisposition.
Fact: While some cases of epilepsy may have a genetic component, the disorder can also be caused by head injuries, infections, brain tumours, or other neurological conditions. In many cases, the cause remains unknown.
Myth 7: Only intense convulsions qualify as seizures.
Fact: Seizures come in various forms, and not all involve convulsions. Some seizures may manifest as staring spells, loss of awareness, repetitive movements, or unusual sensations. Recognizing and understanding the different types of seizures is crucial for proper diagnosis and management.