Dr. Parth Bansal

Dr.Parth Bansal

What are the causes of Epilepsy?

Identifying the cause is challenging. According to the WHO, “the cause of the disease is still unknown in about 50% of cases globally.”

The following are some of the potential causes of epilepsy:

  • Brain damage that occurred during or just after birth
  • Brain malformation with genetic origins
  • Severe head injuries
  • Stroke
  • Brain infections, such as meningitis or encephalitis
  • Some genetic syndromes
  • Brain tumours


Myth 1: If someone is having a seizure, you should put something into their mouth to prevent them from choking.
Fact: Never put anything in a person’s mouth who is having a seizure. This could end up hurting the person more. Instead, gently roll the person onto one side and put something soft under his or her head and wait by their side until they become conscious.

Myth 2: You should hold that person tightly who’s having a seizure.
Fact: Never hold down a person during a seizure. Holding someone down can cause a bone or muscular injury. Instead, make sure the surrounding area is clear of objects and their head is padded with something soft.

Myth 3People with epilepsy are mentally ill or intellectually/developmentally disabled.
Fact: Epilepsy, mental illness and intellectual disabilities are all conditions that affect the brain. However, if a person has epilepsy, it does not mean they have an intellectual disability or a mental illness. Overall, a person with epilepsy tends to have the same degree of intelligence as a non-epileptic person.

Myth 4: People with epilepsy are disabled and not able to work.
Fact: Most people with epilepsy are not disabled and are able to have rewarding careers. Each individual is different.

Myth 5: All seizures involve convulsions.
Fact: Seizures can present in different ways. Some cause a person to faint and have convulsions (when their body stiffens then jerks uncontrollably). Other seizures can cause brief spells of blinking rapidly and staring off or simply cause the person to experience strange sensations (like tingling) or display off behaviours (like repeated lip smacking or hand wringing).

Myth 6: You will swallow your tongue during a seizure.
Fact: Actually, it’s impossible to swallow your tongue during a seizure.

Myth 7: Epilepsy is contagious.
Fact: You are not able to catch epilepsy from another person.

Myth 8: During a seizure, the person is in pain.
Fact: During a seizure, a person is unconscious and doesn’t experience any pain. However, some people may have muscle aches and can be tired after a prolonged seizure.

Myth 9: People with epilepsy shouldn’t have jobs with responsibility and stress.
Fact: Epilepsy is a non-discriminatory condition. People of all walks of life and at all ages experience seizures. People with seizure disorders can have successful careers in many different professions.

Fun fact: There have been several famous people throughout history that have been diagnosed with seizures in a variety of professions. Some you may be familiar with are: 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt; musicians such as Prince, Elton John and rapper Lil’ Wayne; actors such as Danny Glover.

Myth 10: If you have a seizure, you have epilepsy.
Fact: Epilepsy involves having seizures that occur repeatedly. Seizures may occur as result of several other medical conditions such as a recent concussion, a high fever or low blood sugar. 

Although epilepsy is probably the most well-known seizure condition, it is not the only one. Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, whereas other conditions may have different mechanisms.

The most common form of non-epileptic seizures is dissociative seizures, or psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES).

PNES have an association with a range of factors, including mental health conditions and psychological trauma. 

It is worth noting that an estimated 10% of people with PNES also have epileptic seizures.

Myth 11: Epilepsy treatments don’t work.
Fact: Two-thirds of people with epilepsy can completely control their seizures with the right kind of medication with the right dose. 

For the other one-third, there are other treatments that sometimes can be added to the medication to improve the treatment. 

These treatment options may include brain surgery, nerve stimulation with an implanted electrical device or a special diet.

Myth 12: You can’t die from epilepsy.
Fact: Epilepsy is a very serious condition and individuals can die from seizures. According to data, there’s 1% risk of death in each epileptic attack, known as SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy)

Myth 13:  It is best to restrain someone while they are having a seizure 

Fact: This is another common myth. Most seizures last for 30–90 seconds, and there is no reason to restrain a patient with a seizure.

“A hallmark symptom of an epileptiform seizure is that it is not suppressible, which means they don’t stop when you hold a person down.”

Myth 14: People with epilepsy should not get pregnant

Fact: Although this is not true, pregnancies in people with seizures is considered high risk. 

Some seizure medications are not safe to be used while pregnant, but presently there are medications that are safe for both the mother and developing baby.”

Myth 15: If you have epilepsy, you can’t drive

Fact: People with epilepsy can obtain a driver license if their seizures are well-controlled with medication, or if they fulfil the guidelines set out by the relevant driving authority in their state. 

Myth 16: People with Epilepsy look different

Fact: Unless someone with epilepsy is actually having a seizure there is no way that his or her condition can be detected

Myth 17: Children with Epilepsy are dull

Fact: Except for children who are born with obvious mental subnormality, a vast majority of children with epilepsy have normal intelligence and should be encouraged by the physicians’ parents and teachers to attend school and complete their education.

Myth 18: Epilepsy is a curse of God

Fact: No. It is unfortunate that these questions are being asked even today. Epilepsy is a medical problem of the brain and can affect anyone.

Myth 19: Use of metal, key, etc., helps in terminating an Epileptic attack

Fact: No. Some people think that an epileptic attack can be terminated by making the person smell dirty shoes, or by placing a metal key in the person’s hand. These are false beliefs. Relatives, friends & teachers of people with epilepsy should be informed of the measures to be taken during an attack of seizure.

Myth 20: Epilepsy medications are ineffective

Fact: No. Epilepsy medicines are very essential for the control of epileptic attacks and should not be neglected and the medications advised by your physicians should be taken on a regular basis. Nearly about 80% of the cases can be controlled with either a single or two medications.

Myth 21An epileptic patient can never get married nor have children.Fact: With the consent of the two partners, it is possible for epileptic patients to marry and lead a healthy life. Additionally, with appropriate preconception guiding, it is possible for an epileptic lady to conceive and have children.

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