Healthy Mind

International epilepsy day – easing the stigma

Established in 1966 Epilepsy Ireland, formally Brainwave- The Irish Epilepsy Association has been committed to helping improve the quality of life for those with epilepsy in Ireland. According to for those unfamiliar with this particular condition, the definition is as follows;

“The word ‘epilepsy’ is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘to be seized, to be overwhelmed by surprise’. To have epilepsy is to have a tendency to have recurring seizures. Anyone can have a seizure, if the brain is exposed to a strong enough stimulus. We know that about 1 in every 20 people will have a single seizure at some time during their lives. “

Epileptic seizures are caused by intermittent and temporary disturbances in the brain, which produces some or all of the following symptoms: disturbance of consciousness or awareness, alterations of bodily movement, sensation or posture

The website goes on to say that between 30,000 and 40,000 people in Ireland have epilepsy, with the majority of those being treated with medication. Ove the last number of years, many new drugs have come on stream, which greatly helped those with epilepsy and the seizures they have.

Like with many things such as mental health and cervical cancer, you will not know someone has epilepsy. It is undetectable until they have a seizure.

Not only does Epilepsy Ireland educate us all aspects of Epilepsy, it also addresses some of the myths associated with epilepsy.

It is not contagious, nor is it a mental illness. Epilepsy will NOT affect someone’s employment prospects. It also won’t affect a person’s ability to take part in sport or leisure activities.

Please check out the website, for more details on these myths, because as someone who was completely unaware of Epilepsy prior to this, it has educated me .

With today/Monday being International Epilepsy Day, the nation is being urged to get trained up in how to be aware of seizure. With the slogan “Be a TEAM player” and Head coach for Ireland Joe Schmidt fronting the campaign, it could not be easier to train up and gain more awareness of epilepsy. TEAM is what you need to become trained in assisting with epileptic seizures:

T-Take care of the person

E-Ensure you stay with them

A-Allow the seizure to run its course

M-Move the person onto their side when the seizure is over

Schmidt’s involvement in the campaign stems from the fact that his son Luke has suffered seriously with Epilepsy, something which Schmidt himself has spoken out about on numerous occasions.  

On Valentine’s Day an event has been organised by Epilepsy Ireland with a 40km, 80km or 120km with all funds raised going towards the charity, more details can be found here

There are many ways to get involved in raising awareness about epilepsy. Check out the hashtag #epilepsyireland on Twitter and help to get it trending on February 9th.  Change your Facebook profiler to one of the International Epilepsy Day images that can be found on the Facebook page. Educate yourself, and take a read of the website, you never know when the information will come in handy.