Affecting 65 million people around the world, or 1 in 100 people, epilepsy is one of the most common brain disorders, but also one of the most neglected and misunderstood.
With this condition, the brain feels a sudden transitory disturbance, which can lead to generalised fits in the whole body, all at once, including the face and the limbs. In certain cases, it can cause fits on a certain limb or its part, for example, on an arm, foot or muscle of the face. In addition, it may also affect a certain part of your body at first and then another part of the body also shows the same symptoms.
This article offers guidance on how to help inform others about the disorder, increasing epilepsy awareness worldwide.
In many cases of epilepsy in children they may only go through momentary unconsciousness, called a 'petit mal seizure'. It is caused by a disturbance of the brain’s consciousness. These disturbances may affect our other senses as well. For example, one may experience momentary bright lights or dots if their sight gets distorted, while they can hear abnormal noises if their sense of hearing is disturbed.
Epilepsy may cause sensations in internal organs, which can lead to disturbances in the middle and upper part of the abdomen. It can also cause some other sensations, such as burning, pricking or tearing, in any part of the skin.
Mental distress is another possible by-product of epilepsy, which can make the patient feel terrorised or frightened of something. Furthermore, epilepsy may make them feel like a body part or part of the limb is growing abnormally compared to the other parts of the body, getting shorter or not present at all. It can put the patient in a dream-like trance due to the feeling of unreality and depersonalisation.
Epilepsy, despite being a common disorder, is often missed at the point of diagnosis. Therefore, it is important to help raise awareness regarding the condition. Spotting tell-tale signs may help lead to sooner treatment. You can also play your part in spreading awareness of this disorder.
How can you spread epilepsy awareness?
Let’s have a look at some of the ways you can help to spread awareness of epilepsy:
Become a member of an epilepsy awareness organisation/foundation. These foundations often carry out campaigns in different parts of the world to make people aware of the condition
Use your social media as a platform to spread awareness. For example, share a useful article on epilepsy on your timeline or invite your friends to join a cause promoting awareness
Ensure that your workplace and/or school is equipped with the proper seizure first aid kit
Spread around information in your community on what to do when someone around them experience fits/seizures
- Celebrate Purple Day. Every year, the 26th March marks Purple Day, a day of epilepsy awareness around the world. Created in 2008 by a young Canadian girl called Cassidy Megan, this day is dedicated to get people talking about epilepsy and showing those who suffer from the disorder that they're not alone. Wear purple and start the conversation.
Even if you've never come into contact with someone with epilepsy, or have been lucky enough not to experience it yourself, you can help raise awareness by following the tips above.
At Flexebee, we offer an Epilepsy Awareness training course covering what epilepsy is and what causes it, as well as identifying the signs, symptoms and common triggers. For more training like this, go to our Mental Health course page. You can also read our blog 'Epilepsy: What is it and how to prepare?' to discover more about the condition and how to respond to someone having an epileptic seizure.