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Epilepsy myths


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Some of the most common epilepsy myths and misconceptions. European Epilepsy Day 2011, February 14th.

Some of the most common epilepsy myths and misconceptions. European Epilepsy Day 2011, February 14th.

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  • 1. Epilepsy Myths & Misconceptions
  • 2. Epilepsy – Myths & Misconceptions
    • Epilepsy is contagious
    • False – You cannot catch epilepsy from another person!
  • 3.
    • 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 can’t 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 on
    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 person’s 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 person’s 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.
    • Be Seizure Aware!
    • European Epilepsy Day 2011
    Epilepsy – Myths & Misconceptions