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National Epilepsy Day: A brain disorder that may lead to depression

Updated November 17, 2020 13:57 IST
Brain
Brain (Representational Image)

Today, on November 17, the Epilepsy Foundation observes the National Epilepsy Day in India. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain resulting in repeated, unprovoked ‘seizures’ or ‘fits.’ The condition leads to unusual behavior, sensations, loss of awareness, and abnormal motor activity.

According to the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, there are approximately 10 million people suffering from Epilepsy in India. Its prevalence is higher among the rural population, i.e.,1.9 per cent compared to the urban population where it is 0.6 per cent.

Statistically, one in a hundred people develops this disorder, and it is more common among young children and older people.

According to the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, people suffering from the medical condition also undergo sudden behavioral changes, sometimes minutes or hours before a seizure. The condition may provoke the individual to be apprehensive, aggressive, agitated, inattentive, and hyperactive.

It also says that children suffering from epilepsy may undergo stress and depression from the fact that they might have a seizure in front of their friends, school, or loved ones. It can cause them to act out, withdraw from social situations, become socially dysfunctional, anxious, and depressed.

Owing to the myths related to the disease, only 30 per cent of the patients visit the doctors. “Many people with active epilepsy do not receive appropriate treatment for their condition, leading to a large treatment gap. The lack of knowledge of antiepileptic drugs, poverty, cultural beliefs, stigma, poor health infrastructure, and shortage of trained professionals contribute to the treatment gap. Infectious diseases play an important role in seizures and long-term burden causing both new-onset epilepsy and status epilepticus,” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology said.

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