Express press service
KOCHI: This Valentine’s Day coincides with International Epilepsy Day and it’s a warm reminder that love knows no bounds. Epilepsy is a condition associated with many misconceptions and misunderstandings that prevent patients from fully enjoying their lives. However, many couples not only overcome the disease together, but also the stigma associated with it.
Geethu S (36) from Mavelikkara and MBA graduate started having seizures when she was 20 years old. Thereafter, the stigma associated with the disease haunted her. She even had to quit her job.
However, she fell in love with her college classmate, and against all barriers and family opposition, they built a life together. Knowing her condition, he supported her and they got married in 2017. She says it was her husband who gave her the confidence to face life head on and beat the disease.
“After the first attack, I was fine in less than 10 minutes. However, I was afraid it would happen again. There is a social stigma around it. I was afraid people would push me away. happened I was at home but when it happened again I was at university during university day celebrations Initially we sought Ayurvedic treatment near our home but when it calmed down, I went on with my life,” said Geethu.Even though Geethu found a support system in his partner, the condition also separated several lovers.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about the disease. Seeking treatment at the right time and continuing it without interruption is key. When I left my job four years ago I was going through mental distress but my husband m patiently supported and guided me throughout,” Geethu said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 70% of people with epilepsy may be seizure-free with proper treatment. Also, one seizure does not mean epilepsy, there should be two or more unprovoked seizures.
Dr. Sangeetha C Joseph, a neurologist at Medical Trust Hospital, Kochi, says no one’s dream should end because of this disease. “During this month, we have met at least 10 to 12 young people between the ages of 18 and 30 with the disease. There are several doubts, especially among women, as if they will be able to conceive or will there will be adverse effects of the drugs on the baby. Depending on each case, the drugs are given from mild to extreme. During pregnancy, they are given the least harmful drugs,” Dr. Sangeetha said.
There were several instances where the family hid the condition just to marry off their children, which resulted in later divorces. “It is important for the person to talk openly about the disease to their partner before marriage. With treatment and medication, there are always ways to live with the disease,” Dr Sangeetha said.
According to Dr. Sandeep Padmanabhan, there are a significant number of patients in Kerala suffering from epilepsy due to various reasons including underlying comorbidities. “Epilepsy can occur in two ways: provoked and symptomatic seizures caused by a previously known or suspected central nervous system disorder. The most common seizures we encounter are symptomatic seizures. Social stigma and lack of knowledge about disease always prevent the longer the delay in seeking treatment, the more their quality of life will be affected,” said Dr. Sandeep, Senior Neurologist at Aster Medcity.