Debunking the Myths of Epilepsy
National Epilepsy Awareness Month is all about elevating knowledge and working to improve the quality of life for those affected by this all-too-common disorder. This November, in addition to researching for possible treatments and a cure, LeBauer HealthCare wants to help people learn more about epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder causing patients to experience recurrent, random seizures. Our neurologists understand that there are several myths and misconceptions about this disorder that can be very inhibiting, both for epilepsy patients and the community at large. By addressing the common myths, we hope to move people towards understanding and compassion, while offering the highest level of care to those with epilepsy. Read on to have the top six epilepsy myths debunked.
People with epilepsy are disabled
One of the most common myths about epilepsy involves the publics perception of a patient’s limits. People with epilepsy are not disabled. They have careers, families and full lives. They enjoy sports, travel and other common activities. While most people believe otherwise, many epilepsy patients are not limited in any way. However, in some cases, if seizures are frequent and severe, a patient may not be able to drive until treatment begins to make a positive difference.
Epilepsy only affects children
Sometimes, epilepsy begins during childhood, however, this is not always the case. In fact, according to the National Epilepsy Foundation, seizures start for the first time in people over age 65 almost as often as it does in children. As we age, problems like stroke and heart disease can spark this condition.
Epilepsy cannot be managed
Great strides have been made in the treatment to control epilepsy. While there is still no cure, modern medicine has allowed for effective treatment, decreasing and often eliminating seizures for patients. Unfortunately, there are still about a million cases of uncontrolled epilepsy in the United States. LeBauer is committed to combatting this statistic through research and comprehensive patient care.
Epilepsy is a mental issue
Over the years, epilepsy has received an incorrect reputation as a mental disease. This is simply not the case. Regardless of the type of seizures a patient experiences, epilepsy is always a neurological disorder – completely uncorrelated with a person’s mental health. While there are physical implications, it is also important to remember that epilepsy is not a physical disorder, either.
People with epilepsy cannot drive
People with uncontrolled seizures or newly-diagnosed epilepsy may initially be unable to drive. However, in North Carolina, if the epilepsy is well-controlled, the patient is taking their anti-seizure medication as prescribed and is seizure-free for six months, they may resume driving.
Epilepsy is uncommon
Because people with epilepsy tend to lead normal lives, there is a common misconception that this is a rare disorder. This is simply untrue. In fact, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder affecting patients of all ages! There are currently more than 65 million cases worldwide, 3 million of those being in the U.S. People find it shocking that 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives, but it’s true! This is why it is more urgent than ever to spread the word, invest in research and provide high quality treatment.
Looking for an epilepsy specialist?
LeBauer Neurology has three board-certified providers that specialize in complex neurological disorders like epilepsy. If you or a loved one suffers from seizures, let us partner with you to make a difference. If not, we encourage you to share this blog post so more people can understand the prevalence and reality of life with epilepsy.