Did You Fall For These Common Epilepsy Myths?

Jan 28 • 2016

The Truth About Epilepsy As Told by a Baptist Neurologist

Did you know that approximately one in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime? Additionally, one in three people know someone who has epilepsy currently. One of the biggest misconceptions about this disease is that it is rare. We sat down with Dr. Pawan Rawal, a Baptist neurologist with a sub specialization in epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology, to discuss epilepsy and how Baptist is working to treat it.

Most people associate epilepsy with seizures. While this is a common symptom, it is important to recognize that there are also other ways this disease can present itself. Other signs include:

  • Staring episodes
  • Confusion
  • Muscle twitching
  • Waking up in the morning with your tongue bitten

By being aware of these less commonly discussed symptoms, you can more easily determine whether you or a loved one may be suffering from epilepsy.

Aside from the myth that epilepsy is a rare disease, another common misconception is that once you are diagnosed, you will be impacted by it for the remainder of your life. “The diagnosis of epilepsy is not a life sentence,” said Dr. Rawal. “We can control epilepsy to achieve sustained seizure freedom in the majority of patients with newer medications.”

It is important for people to remember that this disease can be developed by anyone at any time. Dr. Rawal wants everyone to know that finding an epilepsy specialist who can come up with a personalized treatment plan is key. “The goal of the treatment of epilepsy is seizure freedom with no side effects,” he said. “There are a number of options available to treat epilepsy, including a number of newer medications, devices, and surgery.”

The gold standard for diagnosing epilepsy and treating it effectively is an epilepsy monitoring unit. “Baptist Memorial Health Care is establishing the only adult epilepsy monitoring unit in the greater Memphis area,” said Dr. Rawal. “This would allow clinicians to not only diagnose the epilepsy accurately, but also tailor treatment to the individual’s need.”