Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions

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Myths and Misconceptions of Epilepsy, European Epilepsy Day 2012, February 13th

Text of Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions

  • 1. Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions

2. Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions

  • Epilepsy is contagious
  • False You cannot catch epilepsy from another person!


  • You can swallow your tongue during a seizure
  • False - It's physically impossible to swallow your tongue. In fact, you should never force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure. You could chip teeth, puncture gums, or even break someone's jaw.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 4.

  • Anyone who has epilepsy will have convulsive seizures.
  • False A convulsive or Tonic-Clonic seizure is just one of the many different types of seizures.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 5.

  • Epilepsy is a form of mental illness
  • False - Epilepsy is an umbrella term covering different types of seizure disorders. It is a functional, physical problem, not a mental one.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 6.

  • People with epilepsy cant drive a car.
  • False In Ireland a person who is seizure free for one year can drive a car. There are further driving regulations allowing people with epilepsy to drive and these can be found onwww.epilepsy.ie

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 7.

  • All seizure involve a loss of consciousness
  • False - If a person has a Simple Partial seizure They will know what is happening and are aware that they are having a seizure.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 8.

  • Epilepsy will affect a persons employment
  • prospects.
  • In most cases, it should not. However, the impact of epilepsy on people's lives varies a great deal and decisions on employment should be based on each individual's circumstances. Most people with epilepsy are perfectly able to work at whatever they choose to do. Others do not have any particular difficulties when placed in the right job, but each person's difficulties and limitations need to be individually assessed.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 9.

  • Epilepsy will have affect a person having a baby
  • False -more than 90% of babies born to women with epilepsy are perfectly healthy, so if you are interested in having a baby, talk to your doctor about how to plan for a successful pregnancy.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 10.

  • Epilepsy is difficult to control
  • While there are people who find it difficult to control seizures, up to 70% of people with epilepsy can achieve seizure freedom with anti-epileptic drugs.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 11.

  • Epilepsy is an inherited condition
  • In many cases, there is no family history of the condition at all. However, it would seem that some types of epilepsy do tend to occur more frequently in some families due to the inheritance of specific genes.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 12.

  • Epilepsy medication is very expensive
  • In Ireland, people with epilepsy are entitled to get their anti-epileptic medication free of charge under the Long Term Illness Scheme. If you do not have a medical card, you can get a Long Term Illness Book through your local health office.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 13.

  • Seizure can damage the heart and brain.
  • Despite the most violent movements and disturbances at the time of the seizure, the heart is not strained and continues as strong as ever, afterwards. The brain, although temporarily put out of normal function during the seizure, does not suffer any lasting effect. There may be rare exceptions but only in the case of the prolonged, severe and frequently repeated seizures.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 14.

  • Epilepsy will affect a persons my 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.

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions 15.

  • Shatter the Stigma of Epilepsy
  • www.epilepsy.ie
  • European Epilepsy Day 2012 February 13th

Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions