Although our age has long been recognized by the preachers, we conquer outer space and have introduced computers everywhere, and stereotypes and misconceptions among the people are still alive. It deals with epilepsy, which is caused by physiological causes. Many consider it to be a purely mental illness, although the epileptics themselves suffer from disorders of this kind no more than the rest of the people. Debunk some of the basic myths about epilepsy.


Society has always been bad about epilepsy.

In ancient Greece and Rome, this disease was considered the intervention of the Gods in human life, it is no accident that epilepsy was nicknamed “Herculean disease”, “divine illness”. But in Christianity the propensity for seizures was attributed to demonic interference. For example, in the description of Cyril of Jerusalem, demonicness strongly resembles the same epilepsy. One can still recall one of the medieval guides on the challenge of otherworldly spirits. There it is described that an incorrect preparation for a rite can lead to the death of a magician, and an epileptic blow will occur.

Epileptics are mentally retarded people.

It is often believed that this disease always leads to brain degradation, but science completely refutes this assumption. Where did the myth come from? In the middle of the XIX century, epilepsy was considered a hereditary disease that leads to mental retardation and entails even a propensity for crime. There were no effective prescriptions against epilepsy, and patients with this diagnosis often received craniocerebral trauma, as they fell. Not surprisingly, this led to structural brain damage. Already later to combat seizures began to use drugs with bromine, which itself had a negative effect on intellectual abilities. So it turned out that epilepsy was also attributed to mental retardation, which objectively arose entirely for other reasons. Scientists have proved that intellectual disorders can accompany epilepsy only if it is due to a severe craniocerebral trauma. But if this did not happen, then there will not be any qualitative changes in the person’s personality with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is an exclusively mental illness.

30 years ago only psychiatrists dealt with the treatment of this disease. But today the medicine made an unequivocal verdict – in epilepsy there is no psychic pathological entity. There is epileptology – the field of neurology, since the origin of the disease is not related to the change in the activity of the human brain. It has been revealed that epilepsy can be caused by stroke, tumor, cerebral vascular lesions, disorders in human metabolism (hepatic insufficiency, uremia, hypoglycemia) and even tick-borne encephalitis. From this it is clearly evident that the causes of the disease are exclusively physiological in nature.

Epilepsy is a hereditary disease.

In fact, there really is a hereditary predisposition to epilepsy. In such a situation, doctors talk about the idiopathic form of the disease (with it there are no other factors, except hereditary). But the high risk of transmission of epilepsy from parents to children can not be said. The probability of such an event is small and does not exceed 8%.


Epileptic seizures are a must.

It is with seizures that epilepsy is directly associated. However, physicians distinguish about 40 different forms of manifestation of this disease, as well as various types of epileptic seizures. Of these, a weighty share belongs to absences, or to non-convulsive seizures. Absenses often occur in early adolescence and even in childhood. Such an attack is characterized by a sharp fading of a person, his eyes become glassy, ​​his eyelids begin to tremble slightly, and his head slightly tilt. But such a seizure lasts only a few seconds, it’s no surprise that the people around him practically do not notice it.But convulsive epileptic seizures for several hours and even days before their onset can be foreseen by the patients themselves. This is due to the specific sensations that people experience, the frequency of seizures in this case directly depends on the severity of the disease. It happens that a fit can happen only once in a lifetime, the other extreme are dozens of attacks per day. Some patients generally experience epileptic seizures only in a dream.

Epileptic seizures can occur due to stress.

This really can happen, but is this the main reason? Epilepsy can occur due to overheating in the sun, a large amount of alcohol taken, poisoning. In almost half of the patients, seizures are caused by the flickering of the TV screen or monitor, color music or driving along the evenly planted trees. Someone provokes flashing headlights of the car. Seizures may appear even when traveling, due to the change of time zones by more than two. Among the reasons, doctors especially highlight violations of sleep regimes. Later falling asleep, a violent awakening or wakefulness at night is a much more important cause of epilepsy than normal stress.

Children do not get sick with epilepsy.

And the statistics state otherwise. In 70% of patients, epilepsy is manifested for the first time in the childhood and adolescence. At this age, the incidence of epilepsy among children is 0.7%. For infants, oxygen deficiency may occur during pregnancy (hypoxia), congenital malformations of the brain, intrauterine infections (toxoplasmosis, herpes, rubella, cytomegalia and others). And birth trauma, though rare, can become a source of epilepsy in children. This is the first wave, and the last peak of the incidence of epilepsy is already at an advanced age. Tom contributes to a number of neurological diseases, especially – strokes.

Epilepsy can not be cured.

This view has existed for quite some time, but the development of neuropharmacology has led to the fact that now patients can maintain their lifestyle in a normal way. 60-70% of patients can now safely go to work, study, and women – give birth to absolutely healthy children. But to achieve such results, drugs must be taken for many years, and often in general – throughout life. In order to successfully treat epilepsy, it is necessary to correctly diagnose and take medications exactly in accordance with the prescriptions. There is a fairly large number of cases where, under the influence of medications, in some patients (especially often in children) epilepsy generally passed. A characteristic method of treatment is monotherapy, that is, trying to treat epilepsy with one single drug. But epilepsy has also difficult for treatment forms – resistant. In such cases, the patient is prescribed several drugs at once, and in especially severe cases even perform an operation on the affected area of ​​the brain.


Epilepsy is the lot of ordinary people.

History knows many examples when such bouts suffered great politicians, scientists, artists. Suffice it to mention the names of Socrates and Moliere, Nobel and Lenin, Napoleon and Dostoevsky, Stendhal and Byron. In some of these people, subsequent studies of their diseases unequivocally confirmed the diagnosis of “epilepsy” (Julius Caesar, Flaubert), while in other individuals whose activities have occurred long ago, this can be confirmed with relative certainty (Saul, Apostle Paul). Many geniuses did not suffer from chronic epilepsy, limited only to periodic attacks (Lenin, Byron). It can be stressed once again – the presence of such a disease in famous people is absolutely compatible with a high level of intelligence, without hampering the development of genius.

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