Misconceptions and myths often contribute to the stigma surrounding epilepsy. A lack of awareness about epilepsy can contribute to stigma and discrimination. It can also make some people uncomfortable to talk about their epilepsy, even when they want or need to. This year’s International Epilepsy Day campaign seeks to dispel these myths. By sharing facts about epilepsy, we will challenge public misconceptions about epilepsy.
It’s so important to educate ourselves and others about the facts about epilepsy to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with epilepsy and ensure that they have access to the same opportunities and rights as everyone else.
MYTH 1: ALL PEOPLE WITH EPILEPSY LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS AND HAVE CONVULSIONS
In fact, tonic-clonic seizures are one of over 40 different seizure types, some of which include quick muscle twitches, a brief loss of awareness, confusion or disorientation.
MYTH 2: EPILEPSY IS A MENTAL ILLNESS
Sometimes epilepsy and seizures can be mistaken for mental illness. For example, a person may make unusual noises, use strange words and/or behave oddly when having a seizure. However, like anyone else, some people with epilepsy can develop mental health conditions, such as depression and/or anxiety.
MYTH 3: IF YOU HAVE EPILEPSY, YOU CAN’T DRIVE
People with epilepsy can obtain a driver license if their seizures are well-controlled. In Ireland a person who is seizure free for one year can legally drive a car.
MYTH 4: EPILEPSY WILL AFFECT A PERSON’S ABILITY TO TAKE PART IN SPORTS OR OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES.
In most cases, it won’t. A lot will depend on the degree of seizure control and the type of sport activity involved. Everyone’s epilepsy is different, but as long as it’s safe for the individual to take part and they let their coaches and team mates know how best to help them in the event of a seizure, then they can enjoy their chosen sport.
MYTH 5: YOU SHOULD PUT SOMETHING IN A PERSON’S MOUTH DURING A SEIZURE
This myth stems from a mistaken belief that during a seizure, people can swallow their tongue or suffocate. In fact, it’s physically impossible to swallow your tongue and you should never force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure or try to hold their tongue. You could damage teeth, puncture gums, or even break someone’s jaw. You also risk being bitten if you attempt this.
Get involved – dispel myths and raise awareness on International Epilepsy Day and every day!
#epilepsyawareness #epilepsywarrior #EPILEPSY #MENTALILLNESS #dispellingmyths #epilepsysucks