Myths & facts about epilepsy

Myth: Epilepsy is because of possession by evil spirit and hence sorcery is the treatment.

FACT: Epilepsy is a neurological disorder and there are drugs to treat.

Myth: People with epilepsy are possessed by God/spirits and hence should be worshiped/ shunned.

Fact: Epilepsy is due to transient electrical disturbances in the brain and the individual should be treated like any other person.

Myth: Epilepsy is a mental illness.

Fact: NO, it is a disorder of the brain.

Myth: Epilepsy is contagious so one should not come in contact with a person with epilepsy.

Fact: It is not contagious.

Myth: Epileptic attacks damages the brain.

Fact: Certainly not. On the contrary it is the damaged brain which can cause epilepsy.

Myth: People with epilepsy are below normal in their intelligence.

Fact: Epilepsy does not affect intelligence or memory. If the attacks are frequent or the person is taking large

              doses of antiepileptic drugs, this may affect the memory temporarily.

Myth: People with epilepsy cannot lead a normal life.

Fact: Most people with Epilepsy can do the same things that people without epilepsy can do. Some people with frequent seizures might not be able to work, drive or may face other problems in life.

Myth: Epilepsy is hereditary and so one should not marry.

Fact: Epilepsy is not a hereditary disorder. The tendency to get epilepsy is passed on in about 3 % only. Hence epilepsy is no bar for marriage.

Myth: Marriage cures epilepsy?


Myth: Epilepsy is lifelong disorder.

FACT: Not at all. In about 70% of people with epilepsy the seizures are well controlled and a great majority of them can go off the drugs.

Myth: Epilepsy is rare.

Fact: Epilepsy affects almost 1% of world’s population. More than 10 million people in India suffer from this disorder.

Myth: Seizure can be stopped by giving a key in the hand or making a person to smell onion / shoe.

Fact: FALSE. The attack stops on its own and not due to the above factors.

Myth: A person having a seizure can swallow his or her tongue. To prevent that insert a spoon in his or her mouth.

Fact: NOT TRUE. The person having a seizure does not swallow his or her tongue. It’s physically impossible. No

              need to insert any object in his or her mouth. This may cause damage to his or her teeth or gums.

Myth: Epilepsy occurs only in children.

Fact: Though it is common in children, epilepsy can occur at any age; in fact a second peak of incidence occurs

               between the ages of 60-70 years.