The Epilepsy Inequality


By: Krupali Chokshi  

In the “Land of the Free” the concept of equality represents the foundation of our beliefs and what we stand for.  We boast that “All Men are Created Equal” and
claim to stand against unjust discrimination. We consider ourselves to be an
educated society that is constantly developing and progressing for the greater
good of humanity.

If this is the case, then how can
certain serious diseases, such as Epilepsy, be so misunderstood and stigmatized?
In the United States, Epilepsy affects 2.3 million Americans and about 65
million people worldwide. About 150,000 people in the United States are
diagnosed with Epilepsy each year and 1 in 3 Americans know someone who has the
disease. Despite its prevalence, public
awareness of the condition is extremely limited and shallow. It receives much
less research funding than needed, and misconceptions about epilepsy often
overshadow the truth.

What exactly is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder
that produces recurring seizures that impact a variety of mental and physical
functions. The seizures occur when nerve cells in the brain signal abnormally
and cause involuntary changes in a person’s consciousness, movements or
actions. Epilepsy can be described as a “spectrum
disorder”
because the causes, seizure types, and severity levels can vary
greatly from person to person.

It is unfortunate that today, epilepsy
can greatly limit a person’s school achievements, job opportunities and life
experiences in general. Many people mistakenly consider epilepsy and seizures
as something they must fear, and that people with epilepsy cannot be valuable
employees. 

While there is medicine and
treatment for the disease, more than a million people continue to have seizures,
which often leaves them dealing with embarrassment, fear and low self-esteem.
Those affected by epilepsy have found that hiding their condition saves them
from the stigma associated with the condition, but this strategy only hinders
treatment, making things worse.

Through The Humanology Project, we hope to eliminate
the stigma associated with epilepsy by raising awareness through education. By
gaining a holistic perspective on the disease, we can truly understand those
affected by the condition and work towards being a healthier and happier society.  

 

Resources

Baruchin, A. (2007, February 20). Battling Epilepsy and its
Stigma. The New York Times. Retrieved September
21, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/20/health/20epil.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

CDC – Epilepsy – Basics – Public Health. (n.d.). Centers
for Disease Control and 
Prevention. Retrieved
September 21, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/basics/public_health.htm

The History and Stigma of Epilepsy – 2003 – Epilepsia –
Wiley Online Library. (n.d.). Wiley Online
Library
. Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1528-1157.44.s.6.2.x/pdf

Thomas, S. V., & Nair, A. (n.d.). Confronting the stigma
of epilepsy. National Center for Biotechnology
Information
. Retrieved September 21, 2013, from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/

 

+ There are no comments

Add yours