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Frequently Asked Questions On Epilepsy

EMPLOYMENT:

Q: Are persons with epilepsy employable?

A: Most often it is difficult for epileptic persons to find suitable employment after disclosing their epilepsy. On one hand, a person whose seizures are completely controlled without any disabilities should be considered on equal terms as anyone else for most of the jobs. On the other hand, someone who has poorly controlled seizures with some handicaps will not be able to find any job in the public or private sector.

As with other activities, the decision about job suitability should also be individualized keeping in mind the type and frequency of seizures and the associated handicaps. However, some jobs are not recommended for persons with epilepsy. These include defence services, fire services, working with unguarded machinery, working at heights, driving a motorized vehicle, railway engine driver etc. Persons with epilepsy whose seizures are well controlled should be acceptable for most of the other jobs. In case a person develops epilepsy while in service, than the employer should help finding a suitable alternate job for that person.

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Myths & Facts

Myth
Epilepsy is due to the effect of "evil spirits" or "supernatural powers". It is also a form of "madness". So, epilepsy should be treated by faith-healers, sorcerers (witch-craft) or in a
lunatic asylum.

Fact
Epilepsy is a disease of the brain. Hence, epilepsy should be treated by neurologists, epileptologists, physicians and paediatricians.


Myth
One should never touch a patient having a seizure in order to avoid the disease being passed on to you.

Fact
If a patient is having a seizure, he/she needs your help and care. Epilepsy cannot be passed on to others by touching the patient.


Myth
An epileptic seizure can be terminated by putting a key in the patient's hand or by making a patient smell onions or a dirty shoe.

Fact
None of these non-medical measures are of any use. Family members and teachers should be made aware of first-aid measures required during a seizure.


Myth
Children with epilepsy are dull and cannot learn. They should not be sent to school.

Fact
Children with epilepsy can be extremely intelligent. It is usually ignorance about various aspects of epilepsy that prevents parents from sending their children to school. Many times the teachers also have misconceptions and do not encourage children with epilepsy to attend school.


Myth
Treatment for epilepsy with modern medicines is ineffective and expensive.

Fact
"Seizures" or "fits" that occur in epilepsy can be completely controlled by using a single, inexpensive medicine in 60-70% patients. Another 15-20% patients can be helped by the use of new, but slightly expensive drugs. A few cases can be successfully treated with surgery. Epilepsy can even be cured in some cases.
The Brain

No Seizures & No Fits