Slashing the Stigma of Epilepsy

Most people group epilepsy in the same set as life’s incapacitating conditions. This, however, is far from the truth. First, according to doctors, some forms of epilepsy are curable. This is done through brain surgeries, especially for those patients who have growths or tumors in their brains.

The biggest problem with the condition, however, is societal. Karijn explains that once people know a person is an epileptic, they start treating one like as an incapacitated victim. Most relatives take over their duties to the point where, even in a conversation, some member of the family or friend will want to answer questions on their behalf.

The other notable problem is misinformation on the causes of epilepsy. Many people, particularly in rural areas, believe that those suffering from epilepsy have been cursed. Many also look at epileptics as people possessed by evil spirits.

The society, out of its limited understanding of the condition, has in some cases turned patients into outcasts or suggested that the patients be taken away for prayer, to some mental institution, or to a traditional healer.

“Lack of the right information is the biggest hindrance to treatment and control,” says Dr Ngugi. 

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