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Epilepsy Facts vs Myths

Posted by
Andrea Wilkinson, Global Patient Engagement, Global Epilepsy & Rare Syndromes

International Epilepsy Day is an important annual event organized by the patient-lead International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), that strives to make a difference in the lives of those living with this condition.

The world can be a challenging and overwhelming place for those diagnosed with epilepsy. This year's campaign focuses on dispelling the stigma, fear, and superstition surrounding epilepsy, by raising awareness of facts instead. Let us create awareness and understanding, busting stigma and misconceptions around epilepsy so that people with epilepsy can live life without feeling excluded or different. With increased knowledge comes greater acceptance across individuals, families, communities – even entire continents! International Epilepsy Day supports courage and resilience; it helps create supportive environments for everyone affected by seizures to be heard loud and proud on a global scale! 

Today, many people around the world living with an epilepsy diagnosis are still dealing with the folklore of ancient stories created to try and explain epilepsy before science could explain the cause. Despite epilepsy being one of the most common neurological diseases, affecting an estimated 50 million people worldwide, people living with epilepsy and their families frequently suffer from stigma and discrimination, impairing their quality of life and social wellbeing.

The true nature of epilepsy has also long been distorted by myths, false beliefs, and mistaken notions about the disorder. This misinformation is often driven by lack of disease awareness, leading to lack of access to treatment worldwide and unnecessary embarrassment, shame, and fear. Through UCB’s long history supporting people living with epilepsy, we’ve witnessed first-hand the daily challenges posed by social stigma surrounding epilepsy. Across geographies and cultures people speak about similar feelings of marginalization and isolation due to their condition.

In less-well served communities and lower-income countries the issues are particularly acute. It is estimated that 80% of people living with epilepsy reside in low-middle income countries, and that over 75% do not receive treatment at all. In these countries’ disbeliefs, stigma, and prejudices, even within the family setting, are some of the major hurdles to diagnosis and treatment.

It's time to spread knowledge, break down barriers, and take a stand against the myths about epilepsy! Let us spread hope by joining in the community call to action to provide people living with epilepsy an equal footing in life, ensuring that they have access to the same opportunities and rights as everyone else. Individuals and families deserve understanding - let’s educate ourselves and those around us so we can create an inclusive environment of respect, empathy and protected human rights for all. Together, we can make sure everyone knows the facts. #EpilepsyFactsvsMyths.

Please share and join in the campaign. Find out more at: International Epilepsy Day | International Epilepsy Charity

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