According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.2% of the population, or 3.4 million individuals, suffers from active epilepsy. While every individual experiences seizures with varying frequency and severity, social treatment is the same. Adults, although independent, are thought of as incapable and incompetent. Children, although physically and mentally able, are made fun of.
One of the biggest challenges that people with epilepsy face is rooted in misconceptions and myths about the disorder. Many people believe it’s a psychological disorder when it’s not. It’s a seizure disorder, which means that sudden bursts of electrical energy in the brain cause seizures in a person.
In the old days, epilepsy was treated as demonic possession. This left sufferers being banished and isolated, often living by themselves, facing prejudice wherever they went. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen that way anymore. Still, many are ignorant. But, you can address the misunderstanding. There’s a way.
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. It will soon be here, and by that time, you can help people better understand epilepsy. There is great benefit in raising awareness about the disorder. Changing attitudes can encourage access, training, support, research, and public funding for epilepsy. What else can you do to help? Find out below.
Know More About the Disorder
Educating yourself about epilepsy is not just about knowing its definition. It’s also about understanding its complexity and other brain disorders as a whole. It’s about what patients feel, what they go through, how the disorder affects their lives and their loved ones, how they can live comfortable lives, and more.
You can learn more about epilepsy from trusted sources such as public health websites, foundations and organizations focused on epilepsy, and advocacy groups. You can also talk to your doctor and ask if you’re at risk. The disorder is so common. It’s estimated that 1 in 26 individuals are affected by it.
Learn How to Administer First Aid for Seizures
Join a seizure first aid program. Seizures can occur anytime and anywhere in a person with epilepsy. A person having an attack might not be aware of what’s happening or even become unconscious. Knowing how to administer first aid during these situations can be a life-saver.
Learn only from certified sources. The Epilepsy Foundation, American Red Cross, and the National Council for Mental Well-Being have first aid training programs you can check out. The Epilepsy Foundation also offers certification in seizure first aid.
Spread Awareness on Social Media
Social media is a great tool to spread awareness about epilepsy. You can share links about various activities organized by epilepsy groups, hashtags about epilepsy, pages and profiles of reputable epilepsy organizations, and general knowledge about the disorder. If you have a loved one suffering from epilepsy, you can also talk about that, but only with the permission of the person involved.
Follow and Participate in the Latest Research
There is still no known cure for epilepsy, making it more important to raise awareness about it. Research is still ongoing. Keep yourself updated about the latest research, clinical trials, medications, and treatments available for the disorder. Bookmark websites from reputable sources.
If you’re a caregiver of a loved one with epilepsy, you can also further research by participating in one. You’ll be able to help improve your loved one’s condition, increase public understand and awareness of the disorder, and develop new medications and treatments. The Epilepsy Foundation encourages you to reach out and participate. As they said, no therapies or treatments can advance without the help of research and clinical trials.
You can also search for an epilepsy research panel recruitment to direct your help and efforts to the right organizations.
If you’re a patient, you can also participate in research. In some cases, though, there are risks involved. Before you decide to participate, consult with your physician first.
There are other ways on how you can raise awareness about epilepsy. But if you put them all together, it’s all about getting involved.
You can join a volunteer group and work with organizations locally or remotely. You can also do your part by providing resources to your community, organizing educational talks, and hosting fundraising events.
Speaking of funds, researchers and organizations for epilepsy need funding. Epilepsy is a common chronic disorder, but national funding for its advancement and patient care is lagging. You can donate to any of the non-profit organizations for epilepsy.
Now is a good opportunity to learn more about epilepsy before Epilepsy Awareness Month comes and help others learn, too.