The Myth Busters: The Epilepsy Enigma

By Krupali Chokshi

are various myths surrounding Epilepsy that make it a “fearful” and puzzling condition.
It is these false ideas that lead to the misunderstandings associated with the
condition. For example, in the 19th century, people with severe
epilepsy were kept isolated because people though seizures were contagious! Furthermore,
some states had laws forbidding people with the condition to marry or become
parents. It’s thus important to bust these myths and understand the truth
behind epilepsy! Here are a few common misconceptions available from the
official site for Epilepsy in Canada:

Myth: You should
put something in the mouth of someone having a seizure.

Fact: You should
not put something in the mouth of someone having a seizure; you should simply
roll them on their side and put something soft under their head to protect them
from injuring themselves! In fact, you should not restrain the seizure in any
way, it will run its course and you cannot stop it.

Myth: Only kids
get epilepsy.

Fact: Epilepsy
affects a wide range of people, of all different ages. In the elderly, seizures
from epilepsy often occur with other health problems like stroke or health

Myth: People with
epilepsy are disabled and can’t work.

Fact: Epilepsy is
a “spectrum disorder” which means the causes, seizure types and severity levels
can vary greatly from person to person. While some may have severe seizures and
cannot work, others can be successful in challenging careers. In fact, people
with epilepsy are found in a wide range of careers and often keep their
condition hidden because of the stigma associated with it.

Myth: Epilepsy is
not a common disorder.

Fact: Epilepsy is
a very prevalent disorder that affects 2.3 million Americans and about 65
million people worldwide. About 150,000 people in the United States are
diagnosed with the condition every year. Additionally 1 in 3 Americans knows
someone who has epilepsy.

Myth: People with
epilepsy are violent and seizures are something to be feared and maybe harmful.

Fact: People with
epilepsy are not violent or generally more aggressive than most people.
Seizures are unlikely to cause harm to anyone else and are not to be feared! It
is important to give the correct first aid when needed. Generally, people
affected by epilepsy do the same thing during each episode.

Myth: Epilepsy is
a life-long disorder.

Fact: Thankfully,
people with epilepsy have seizures and require medication for only a small part
of their lives. Most people who have seizures have epilepsy that can be easily
controlled. Only 25% may develop difficult to control seizures that may last a
lifetime. Most childhood forms of epilepsy are outgrown by adulthood.


  • Devinsky,
         Orrin. “Facts and Myths about Epilepsy.”
         N.p., 8 Nov. 2013. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.

  • Fletcher,
         Sally. “Facts and Myths About Epilepsy.” Epilepsy
         Health: Alternative & Complementary Treatments & Therapy for
         Epileptic Seizures
    . N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.
  • “Misinformation
         & Myths.” 
    The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.
         N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.


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