• Rukmani Birla Hospital,Gopalpura Bypass Road, Near Triveni Bridge,Gopalpura,Jaipur – 302018.

Demystifying the social stigma – epilepsy is a ‘disease’ and ‘curable’

Demystifying the social stigma – epilepsy is a ‘disease’ and ‘curable’

Let us all burn some ignorance and educate the society and fight against the  age old popular belief that  – epilepsy is not  curable. Today it has been established epilepsy is curable if addressed properly.  A dark spell of ignorance has been prevalent among both literate and illiterate segment of the society that epilepsy is non-curable and caused by God’s wish or a demon’s negative influence. A strong social stigma, followed by lack of adequate education and awareness has led to the occurrence of such irrational set of beliefs.

Certain facts will demystify the unknown, ushering a new light towards this prejudice. Atleast 70% of epilepsy patients can be cured and drugs can be withdrawn. Although 1/3rd i.e. 33% to 36% of patients can be troublesome, however with continuation of medication for a longer time and interventions of other techniques like surgery, neuro stimulations etc. epilepsy can be curable. Epilepsy is a proper disease, backed by scientific reasons and is very much curable. Epilepsy could be caused by genetic predisposition, however that’s only a very minor proportion of about just 5% to 10%. More than 90% of epilepsy is not caused genetically and results out of head injury, stroke, and lot of other diseases like tuberculosis, infections, and trauma. Infact any disease of the brain can lead to epilepsy.

Scientifically, epilepsy can be coined as a neurological disease bringing some changes in the behaviour of the patient, with or without losing consciousness. Epilepsy is a repetitive process, hence again being named epilepsy. There are several forms of epilepsy. A common type of epilepsy is loss of consciousness and shaking of legs and hands which is called atonic epilepsy. And sometimes there is manifestation of biting tongue and involuntary passage of urine and stool even in the presence of consciousness. This is the commonest of all types. Shaking of one part of the body, either hands or legs and twitching of facial muscles in the presence of consciousness can also be witnessed. It may also happen that patients become transiently unresponsive for some seconds and minutes and regains consciousness after a point. Another type is cessation of ongoing activities, for example, a child who is writing, suddenly stops and again re-starts.

Epilepsy in today’s date is more hyped by social stigma than its actual severity. In our society if anyone suffers from epilepsy, then without consulting a doctor it is brushed under the carpet. Especially there is suppression of the news if a woman suffers from epilepsy in the fear of immense difficulty in marriage. Experts have opined that epilepsy is a proper curable disease just like any other disease and there is nothing to get ashamed of. His key messaging says, “not only the doctors, it is an equal responsibility of social workers as well to drive enough education, awareness and demonstration behind the scientific mechanism of the illness. There is no genuine reason to create such a hue and cry and taboo around it’’

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