May 15, 2019
Coimbatore : Leading neurologists Friday sought to dispel the myth that epilepsy is a mental illness and termed it a medical disease.
Epilepsy is a disease of the brain characterized by recurrent seizures, which are brief episodes of involuntary movement that may involve a part of the body (partial) or the entire body (generalized), they said.
*With 70 million people worldwide affected by epilepsy, it is one of the most common neurological diseases globally. Contributing close to one-sixth of the global burden, nearly 12 million people suffer from epilepsy in India, of whom 8 million live in rural areas.Only 60 per cent of urban patients and 10 per cent of rural patients approach doctors, as a result of which 80 per cent of epilepsy patients do not receive treatment,*Dr. J. Karankumar, Associate Medical Director, Abbott told reporters here , “Early and accurate identification of types of seizures, epilepsy and any associated conditions can help the patient get the right kind of medication,.” he said..
“There are around 58,000 people suffering with epilepsy in Coimbatore and timely diagnosis and correct treatment can help 80 per cent of the patients lead a normal life. If managed appropriately, 98 percent of women suffering with epilepsy can have a normal healthy child,.” Dr K Vijayan, Consultant Neurologist, Royal Care Hospital here said.
“Unlike diabetes and hypertension, where a patient needs to take medication throughout their lives, epilepsy may not require lifelong medication. Of course, one should always consult their doctor before modifying or stopping any medication.”* he said,
“There are approximately 20,000 children suffering with epilepsy in and around Coimbatore and 90 per cent of the children with epilepsy can study in a normal school setting without special provisions, if the condition is managed well,” TCR Ramakrishnanm, Consultant Paedatric Neurologist K G Hospital said.
A study conducted in rural Tamil Nadu found women with epilepsy faced stigma in terms of marriage prospects due to ‘loss of consciousness and improper dress position during seizures.’
Studies also found that 23 per cent of people considered epilepsy as a hereditary disorder and 42 per cent of the people believed that epilepsy is a hindrance to a happy life.
More than 20 per cent of people surveyed believed that epilepsy is a mental illness, while 21 per cent believed that epilepsy is caused by ancestors’ sins. In addition, 45 per cent of people professed a belief that a person with epilepsy cannot have a normal sex life,* Karankumar said.