Epilepsy, also known as a seizure disorder, is a condition that causes a person to experience unusual discharges of electricity in the brain. A child needs to have a least two seizures before he receives a diagnosis of epilepsy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Though people have come to better understand the condition thanks to improvements in science and medical care, several myths about epilepsy still abound.
Epilepsy Is Always Caused By Injury or Genetics
In many cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. About one half or fewer of epilepsy cases result from a severe head injury or from a person’s genetic makeup, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Children With Epilepsy Have Low Intelligence
Children who have epilepsy are not necessarily intellectually challenged, according to Epilepsy.com. Epilepsy is a medical condition that affects the brain physically and does not have an impact on a child’s ability to learn or do well in school. A child with epilepsy may have an above-average intelligence level in some cases and may go on to do great things with his life.
You Should Hold a Person’s Tongue During a Seizure
Never stick your hand or another object in a child’s mouth during seizure. You could injure him by hitting a tooth or stabbing his gum. He could bite your hand as well. A child having a seizure cannot swallow his tongue, but it can block his airway. During a seizure, you should carefully roll the child onto his side, according to the Epilepsy Association of Central Florida.
Children With Epilepsy Always Have Psychological Problems
Again, epilepsy is a physical condition and usually doesn’t have an impact on a child’s mental health. Children with epilepsy are not “crazy” or dangerous. Some children with epilepsy may also suffer from anxiety or depression, but the exact connection is unknown, according to Epilepsy.com. Some children may have mood problems because the seizures impact that area of the brain, while others may struggle with depression because they find it difficult to cope with their illness.
You Should Hold a Child During a Seizure
Never hold a child down when he is having a seizure. You could hurt yourself or him. Holding a child down won’t prevent the seizure from happening or make it end sooner. If a child near you begins to have a seizure, quickly clear the area of anything hard or sharp to reduce his risk of injury.
There Is Only One Type of Epileptic Seizure
Two classifications for epileptic seizures exist: partial and generalized. A generalized seizure involves the whole brain, while a partial seizure affects just one area. Partial seizures can be simple or complex. Generalized seizures include petit mal seizures, during which a child may stare off into space and appear absent, atonic seizures, during which a child will suddenly fall down, myoclonic seizures, which cause a child to jerk and twitch and tonic clonic seizures. Tonic clonic, also called grand mal seizures, are the ones most people think of when they think of epilepsy. They cause a child to shake, pass out and lose control of his bladder.
You Can Cure Epilepsy
You cannot cure epilepsy, but in many cases, child will be seizure-free after taking anti-seizure medications. Some children do not respond to medication and may need more intense treatment, such as surgery or special therapy to control their epilepsy.