Then and Now
Perceptions of Epilepsy Have Changed
If you are a senior citizen, you can probably remember a time when there were no reliable treatments for epilepsy. People did not understand why seizures happened and they were afraid of them. You may remember, as a child, that families often sent people with seizures off to institutions, or kept them at home, isolated from others. And you may have heard it whispered (incorrectly) that epilepsy is a form of mental illness.
Perhaps you grew up in a state where people with epilepsy were not allowed to marry. Or you remember someone at school who had a seizure -- and wasn't allowed to return.
Not surprisingly, people with those kinds of memories may need reassurance that things have changed -- and we hope this website has provided that.
We hope it has made clear that epilepsy is now a well-understood neurological disorder, no more mysterious than other physical illnesses.
Today we know that epilepsy is not contagious, not a mental illness, not a symptom of intellectual decline, and certainly not a reason for shame or family embarrassment.
As we have seen, the good news today is that epilepsy can often be treated quite successfully.
And even if seizures continue to happen sometimes, that need not by itself prevent an otherwise healthy, active senior citizen from living an independent and satisfying life.