Epilepsy, the medical term used to describe a number of
disorders that are largely chracterized by seizures, is
more than just a neurological disorder to me. My younger brother has Epilepsy. I never knew what Epilepsy was until I researched it. I thought that my brother was mentally handicapped or he was just retarded, but it's not that. Many people don't know what Epilepsy is or how it's caused. In this paper I would lie to clear up any misconceptions about Epilepsy.
There are more than 2.5 million people who have Epilepsy, many don't even know they have it. (Epilepsy, Elaine Landau page, 29.) Epilepsy is not contagious nor is it inherited. The cause of Epilepsy can be a number of things, from head injuries to an illness. My brothers cause was extreme emotional stress. The symptoms are different for different people. Some
people have tonic-clonic seizures (violent shaking for a number of minutes) while others have absence seizures (going into a daze and coming out not noticing anything happened.) The cause to these symptoms are flashing lights or not taking medication. When my brother goes into seizures he doesn't even know, but after he may become violent or sick if he doesn't take his prescribed medication. I have never been sympathetic to him or tried to know what he goes through until now.
Epilepsy is mainly seen in children, (by the time
they're adults they may have it under control.) Living
with this disease can be just as hard as living with a
disease like cancer, if it's bad enough. The most
embarrassing thing people with Epilepsy say is going into seizures in the middle of class in front of their peers. There is a certain exclusion Epileptics are faced with.
Treatment for seizures is mainly drugs such as
bromides, phenobarbital, Lamictal, Dylanton, and Neurontin. (U.S.A. Today, Berlinda Thurston, page 2.) Drugs don't always work because people react differently. My brother takes medication and is fine. For others the answer is surgery. Epileptic surgery is one of the hardest brain surgeries to have because the patient needs to be awake for the most part. Over 75% of the people who had surgery to correct Epilepsy were 99% cured. There are cases where a person can not have surgery because the damaged nerve tissue was too close to the left part of the brain controlling thinking and communication.
There has not always been a cure or even a known name for Epilepsy. It was believed by the Greeks in ancient time that Epilepsy was "Visitations from Gods" it was called "The Sacred Disease." The Greeks were not the only ones exposed to Epilepsy, Renaissance people also knew of it. The Renaissance were not as kind to those with the disease though, they believed the person was possessed by the devil. (Epilepsy, Elaine Landau page 15.)
In all cases of all diseases there is an exclusion, a certain fear even if it has been proved that the disease is not contagious. Society needs to get over the fear of things that can't hurt them, but who knows, maybe that is their disease that is not contagious.
Epilepsy is a serious disease but can in most cases be treated. The challenge is for us to learn and help those with this or any other disease. I know that from this I will help my brother all that I can, and try to understand what he's going through.