“Epilepsy is a nervous system disorder that produces sudden, intense bursts of electrical activity in the brain. This abnormal electrical activity in the brain causes seizures, which may briefly upset a person’s muscle control, movement, speech, vision, or awareness.”
My definition of Epilepsy is pretty much the same; however, I would not have used the word briefly as it makes it sound so short lived. Seizures can last anywhere from a few seconds up to a few minutes. To get an accurate time adjustment use this comparison, for every second you are in a seizure you are killing many times the brain cells than if you were not. Add into this equation that the lack of oxygen to brain while in a seizure also increases the rate of brain cell death. Every second now feels like an hour.
Then figure in that if it is a Grand-mal seizure where every second of convulsion is physically compared to 30 minutes of intense aerobic exercise, now you can begin to get somewhat of an idea. To get an even better picture let me explain what happens after the seizure. Disorientation: not knowing where you are when you come out of a seizure. Sometimes not knowing who you are or anyone else around are. No concept of what day or time it is.
Physically: After having a Grand-mal seizure you are physically drained and tired. After getting the strength to get moving again, you now have a major migraine headache which lasts for about another day, and it gets worse with every eye movement.
Having one seizure does not an Epileptic make. An Epileptic has many reoccurring seizures. There are many other ways to have seizure for example head injuries; other illnesses may also cause seizures like high fevers. These seizures normally will not happen again after the illness or injury has been taken care of and has gone away.
“In the US, more than 2.3 million people are affected by seizures, and an estimated 3% of the population (about 7.2 million people) will experience at least one seizure during their lifetime. (This does not count the 5% of children who have seizures caused by fevers.) It affects all age groups. About 14% of epilepsy patients are under 15 years old and 24% are over 64, with 62% being between those ages. Every year between 25,000 and 40,000 American children have a first seizure that is unrelated to a fever. Epilepsy is decreasing in childhood but increasing in the elderly, probably because of mild strokes and cardiac arrest.”
Some children with Epilepsy actually grow out of it as they enter adult hood or shortly after. Many people with Epilepsy can be treated with drugs or other form of treatment and can go on with little to no change in their lives. Unfortunately, there are others
who have seizures for no apparent reason and are so sporadic that they cannot be controlled, and the best you can hope for is some relief.
Those who have their Epilepsy under control can get a drivers license as long as they are seizure free for 1 year. This used to be 6 months but has gone up. Epilepsy is all about fear. Fear of what others will think, fear of what you will do when having a seizure. Fear of killing others if you do go and get a drivers license. I mean, can you imagine waking up from a seizure and finding that you drove your truck through a school yard. “NEW YORK, May 24 (Reuters Health) – Media stories about the brain disorder epilepsy are often inaccurate and contribute to age-old stereotypes of patients as possessed and violent, researchers report.
“Persistent myths about epilepsy, such as the ancient belief that it is a demonic disorder, can result in discrimination, emotional difficulties, and reluctance to seek effective treatment,” explain Dr. Gregory L. Krauss from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues.
These images may be shameful to the 2.3 million patients who suffer from epilepsy. Further, they can encourage bystanders to respond incorrectly to seizures, the researchers report in the May issue of Neurology.
For example, two thirds of Americans would try to free a person’s tongue during a seizure despite recommendations that such an attempt could be dangerous to both the bystander and the patient. “
This example is a good one to show how fear completely overtakes the actual thinking process. It is impossible for anyone to swallow their tongue, it is attached to the lower part your mouth. But this is usually the first thing that someone with little more calm than the others standing around would think.
Having seizures when you are at school also brings around many other stereo types like “That boy must be on drugs”, hey I was but they weren’t working. Or how about this one on school report cards, “Your child does not pay attention in class!” or how about being labeled the class clown because you are “purposely seeking attention by throwing yourself on the floor and acting retarded.” Children having Epileptic seizures are ridiculed through out their school. Seizures like Grand-mal can cause one to lose control of their bladder and bowels. A 4 or 5 year old having seizures would then be weird for having them and a baby for having an accident in their pants.
Medical Encyclopedia, MSN Health ©2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. May 3, 2002 – http://content.health.msn.com/content/healthwise/74/18511.htm Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701
Saveon Epilepsy.com – http://www.sav-onepilepsy.com/savonhealth/savonmain/centers.aspx?condition=Epilepsy&cat=0&catID=1&subCat=Overview&subCatID=3
Neurology Channel, “Media Stories Perpetuate Epilepsy Myths”
Author Suzanne Rostler – http://www.neurologychannel.com/NeurologyWorld/media.shtml
iv Raymond D. Sears, II – Epileptic, Author of “Go Get the Dirty Laundry.”