Epilepsy – Myths and Facts
Epilepsy – Myths and Facts
As we may all know, Epilepsy or Seizure disorder is characterised by excessive and abnormal brain cell activity. Thus, this is associated with many other conditions like head injury, hemiplegia, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, etc.
There is much information available on the internet regarding the types and symptoms of Epilepsy and so, on the occasion of Purple day for Epilepsy Awareness, observed on 26 March, 2017, we would talk about few related myths and facts and answer a few frequently asked questions.
Is Epilepsy contagious?
Just like any neurological disorders of Cerebral palsy, autism spectrum, etc, Epilepsy also does not spread by sharing food or touch. So, please do not run away or fear from the person during or without a seizure. Take the first step to assist such person when in need, because they are “normal” just like you and me.
Is Epilepsy a curse?
It is purely a medical condition.
Is Epilepsy a mental illness?
NO. Majority of people with seizures are mentally sound, unless secondary to conditions affecting the psyche and/or intellect. It is not a barrier to success in life.
Can women with Epilepsy bear children?
YES. They can safely have children without any adverse effects on the womb or baby.
Can I help by putting a key in hands of person during a seizure?
Non- medical measures such as the above or smelling a shoe or onions, are not of any use.
What care should be taken regarding medications for seizure control?
- Do not discontinued rugs, until advised and supervised by a neurologist.
- Never miss a dose. But it’s human timer or forget. In such a case, don’t panic, take the dose immediately as you realise and delay the next dose by the same time.
- The person must be made aware and carry pills or nasal sprays which control or terminate an ongoing seizure.
- Withdrawal process and risk should be explained by the doctor, before prescribing a medicine.
- The drug selection by a doctor may take time, but it is to be understood that in 80% cases, the drugs effectively control Seizures.
Are there any side-effects of these medications?
Yes, there can be side effects.you must be observant of all body functions and systems like sleep, learning ability, intellect, liver and kidney functions, etc..
Is neurosurgery a feasible option?
With advanced techniques of investigations and medical care, surgery as a means of treatment from seizures is a feasible solution.
There are investigations which rule out the possibility of a brain area controlling important body function or skill being removed or damaged during surgery.
There are chances that drugs would have to be continued post- surgery, but the decrease in intensity and frequency of seizures remarkably improve the Quality of Life.
What about the social stigma related to Epilepsy?
The lack of complete and proper information about the safety standards, treatment techniques, including drugs and surgery, create a hollow giving rise to self pity, lowered self esteem and confidence, dependence in the individual.
Social awareness and education regarding the normalcy of an individual with seizures, and the care to be taken during a seizure should be highlighted.
Epilepsy, by itself is not a disability, unless accompanied by a condition associated with mental retardation.
Let us spread awareness about this fakely dreaded condition and be supportive in helping these individuals lead a much deserved normal life.
This article was written by Dr Neha Didolkar, Paediatric Physiotherapist.