About 10 million people suffer from epilepsy in India and nearly 7-8 persons per 1,000 have epilepsy in Ludhiana, reveals a study conducted by Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana.
However, nearly 50-80% of those suffering from epilepsy in the country do not opt for medical treatment due to lack of awareness, financial support and accessibility to healthcare.
As part of the Epilepsy Awareness Month activities, HT spoke to various experts about the stigma associated with epilepsy and the challenges in overcoming it.
Dr Gagandeep Singh, general secretary of Indian Academy of Neurology (IAN) and head of the department of neurology at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana, said: “Epilepsy is an intensely stigmatising disorder. Due to the stigma and preconceived notions associated with the disorder, those with epilepsy often find it difficult to get married.”
“People should understand that timely and regular treatment can help any person having the disorder lead a normal life,” Singh said.
Dr Gagandeep further said that epilepsy patients can enter into wedlock without fear.
He said such patients would not f ace problems during conception, pregnancy and childbirth.
Debunking a major myth, he said epilepsy did not appear to be a hereditary disorder in most cases.
Dr Gagandeep is a recipient of the University College, London Grand Challenges Initiative Grant.
He, along with Professor JS Duncan and Dr Caroline Selai, has been researching the marital prospects of those with epilepsy.
Dr Birinder Paul, associate professor, department of neurology, DMCH, said, “Death in people with epilepsy can be due to accidents, that is, people can have epileptic seizures while driving, cooking or swimming which can prove to be fatal.”