Psychological effects of epilepsy

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One in 26 people are diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime. It’s more common than most people think. This disorder is most often synonymous with seizures that are can be painful and traumatizing, as well as embarrassing. For this reason, many people with epilepsy stay out of the limelight. They refrain from going out in public when they can and often try to avoid crowds. Some will even opt for disability if they can qualify for it, or they might try to work from home in an effort to avoid the need to work around other people. While epilepsy isn’t uncommon, it is still largely misunderstood and stigmatized.

The Stigma

It is that very stigma against the side effects of epilepsy that keeps people in solitude. Likewise, others — even family members who mean well — don’t often understand what it’s like to suffer with this illness. Furthermore, many people assume that if one person with epilepsy can lead a normal life, then everyone with epilepsy must be able to. This isn’t true, though. The illness takes on various forms. For some, it is quite severe and debilitating. The psychological effects that stem from epilepsy are often overlooked, too, when they certainly shouldn’t be.

Life Changes

You can’t predict when a seizure will strike. It could happen in the middle of your daughter’s dance recital. It might happen at work. It could happen on the subway where everyone stands back and watches while wondering what’s wrong with you. Family members may mean well when they try to impose restrictions on you for your own good, but they are really hurting your pride and making you feel disabled and less than them.

Getting a grip on how everyone else makes you feel is half the battle when it comes to dealing with the psychological pitfalls of having epilepsy. Time after time when your family is treating you like a ticking time bomb, you may begin to feel like one. You might start opting to stay in instead of go out. Going to family get-togethers and public events might slowly seem like it’s just too much effort. This is the beginning of a serious problem.

Mental Wellness

People with epilepsy are prone to a variety of mental health ailments that might not bother them if they weren’t suffering from a chronic illness that makes everyone stop and stare. Many people with epilepsy struggle with when the right time is to tell their employer about their illness. Others worry it will unexpectedly disclose itself. Similar worries come in tow with dating and even making new friends.

Epilepsy is strongly linked to a person’s emotional state. In other words, they are far more likely to experience an epileptic event if they get upset or unduly stressed. For this reason, it’s important to keep upsetting events to a minimum and maintain composure whenever possible. Relaxation techniques can be very helpful to the sufferer. Noting when epileptic events occur in a journal can help you to track them and discover whether there is a given pattern with any specific behaviors or emotions.

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Cite this page: Danielle Bosley, "Psychological effects of epilepsy," in PsychologyDictionary.org, January 30, 2017, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/psychological-effects-of-epilepsy/ (accessed July 22, 2017).
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