Hyderabad: Epilepsy is the second most common neurological disorder but the social stigma attached to it makes its treatment rather difficult, observe experts.
The stigma is more so for a girl child as the parents are usually depressed and not willing to disclose the fact that their child suffers from the disease or even talk about it.
Speaking to this correspondent a day before the National Epilepsy Day, which will be observed on November 17, Dr S.A. Jabeen, associate professor of neurology at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, said, “After headaches, epilepsy is the second most common problem in neurology. But there are effective drugs for its treatment. Surgery is also an option in some patients. But we find that there are too many misconceptions and often the support required for the patient from the family is missing. They need to understand that epilepsy is a disease that can be treated and the patient can lead a normal life.”
The prevalence of epilepsy is four per cent in India. One in 1,000 people are found to suffer from epilepsy. The disease burden in terms of frequent seizures is reported about one in 20 people and these can be severe during childhood and old age, but they are minimal during adulthood.
While genes contribute to 10 per cent of the cases, others are due to multiple factors like head injuries, injury during birth, brain trauma and brain fever. There is controlled epilepsy and uncontrolled epilepsy.
Dr Radha Krishna, a senior neuro-surgeon said, “In controlled epilepsy, the patient can lead a a normal life. But they have to stick to their medication and also follow simple rules like sleeping well, eating on time and avoiding excessive physical and mental stress.”
The uncontrolled stage requires heavy medical intervention, and even surgery in some cases.
In India, children are the most commonly affected group. Since this also the growing stage, many children suffer as they are compelled to take breaks in their education. This can also result in low self esteem to the child and parents.
Epilepsy has strong psychological effects and this is harmful as it is detrimental in ensuring the complete and proper treatment of the disease. The patients and their family members need motivation to accept epilepsy as any other disease which can be treated.