Myths and Facts About Epilepsy

More than 3 million Americans are living with epilepsy, a neurological disorder most commonly diagnosed in people under the age of 20 and over the age of 65. The condition is often misunderstood. 

Many misconceptions about epilepsy cause confusion and lead to misinformation that can cause harm to someone who has the condition. If you, a loved one, or someone you know has epilepsy, it’s important to know the difference between fact and fiction.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a nervous system condition in which a person has recurrent seizures. In people with epilepsy, brain activity becomes abnormal and nerves cells in the brain misfire. This causes a temporary disturbance in normal motor, sensory, and mental function. 

Neurology specialist Dr. Ravinder Singh offers specialized care for a wide range of neurological conditions at Premier Neurology Medical Group. To increase awareness of the condition, we’ve put together some myths and facts to help you better understand epilepsy.

Fact: There are many types of seizures

Not all seizures are the same. There are many types of seizures and the type someone has depends on what part of the brain is involved. 

Some of the most common types of seizures are:

Myth: Epilepsy is uncontrollable

There is a misconception that epilepsy is uncontrollable. While seizures affect people differently and the frequency can vary widely, it’s important to know that advances in medicine make it possible for people to maintain control over seizures.

Medications used to treat seizures are called anti-epileptic drugs. There are more than 20 anti-epileptic medications available to control seizures. Dr. Singh provides individualized epilepsy care and helps patients find the medication or medication combination that works best for them.

Fact: Seizures can cause misinterpreted behavior

Some people have seizures that cause behavior that seems strange or bizarre to those around them. It’s not uncommon for someone to mistake a person who is having a seizure for being drunk.

It’s important to know that a seizure can affect more than physical function. A seizure can cause a person to scream, mumble, repeat words, or have slurred speech.

Myth: You should hold a person down during a seizure

It’s helpful to know what to do when a person has a seizure so that you can respond appropriately. It’s a common misconception that you should hold a person down if they’re having a convulsive seizure. The truth is you should never restrain a person who is having a seizure.

If you notice someone having a convulsive seizure, remain calm. Make note of when the seizure starts, cushion their head with something soft, stay with them, and help them get into a recovery position once the seizure stops.

Fact: Flickering lights can trigger a seizure

Everyone has a seizure threshold, and for some people a change in contrast can trigger their seizures. Photosensitive seizures are triggered by flickering lights. They can fall under the category of tonic-clonic, myoclonic, and focal seizures. These types of seizures are more common in men than women.

Living well with epilepsy

Treatment options, lifestyle changes, and support makes it possible to live well with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Early recognition, proper diagnosis, and effective treatment are key to having a good quality of life with this condition.

Dr. Singh offers comprehensive treatment for epilepsy and works to help you reach your treatment goals. For individualized care tailored to your needs, visit Dr. Singh at our office in Beverly Hills, California. Call 310-438-5268 to schedule an appointment or book one here on the website.

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