"In a Revolution"

Community Stigma and Its Impact on Epilepsy Patients

In Medical Sciences, Social Problems on April 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm

In a society often people who have seizures say obsession. This is said is one of the symptoms of trance phenomena. Some symptoms of demonic possession is :

  • The voice changed into a flat with no intonation.
  • Can answer the questions that related to paranormal.
  • The physical strength exceeds the actual strength.
  • On some level, people are possessed by demons are able to do something unusual such as flying, throwing people around him with a single hand movement and so forth.
  • Usually they remove the froth (foam) from the mouth with the eyes just bulged up to look white.

Therefore, I will try to explain about the epilepsy, which is one form of seizures and its relation to pregnancy in women with epilepsy. However first I’ll show the stigma in society that eventually became a social problem.


Public Stigma toward Persons with Epilepsy

According to the source of the WHO guidelines, epilepsy is often believed to be a curse, magic, or punishment for mistakes made by their ancestors.  Epilepsy is often believed to be an infectious disease, every person who holds the patient or their faeces will become infected. This experience is frightening that cause a person tries to reduce the severity, for example, by magic, herbal medicine, prayer, and also modern medicine.

What is The Impact for The Patients’ Mental?

That stigma should not be underestimated. According to the journal Neurology in 2004 stated that the stigma can lead to social and professional isolation in small communities and thus affects the patient emotionally and ability to maintain and develop social relationships. Based on the Mittan survey, anxiety about their condition makes epilepsy patients are reluctant to make social contacts and can interfere with their social performance. Community stigma effects were reported in Nigeria in which the epilepsy is associated with shamed and social isolation, and patients often come late to the hospital. Most patients will visit the traditional medicine and religious people before finally visiting a doctor. This decision may be rational in accordance with the culture of these people, but can cause epilepsy not treated or not treated successfully.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a complex disorder that consists of many types of seizures, etiology, and symptoms. Diagnosis of epilepsy requires two features :

  1. Patients had experienced recurrent seizures.
  2. There are no trigger seizures.

There are several types of seizures :

  1. Seizures accompanied by loss of consciousness of the whole body (grand mal).
  2. Seizures can occur on a part of body without loss of consciousness (focal epilepsy).
  3. Attacks are like daydreaming (petit mal, absence, lena).
  4. Muscle spasm attacks (myoclonic).
  5. Automatic movement attack unwittingly accompanied taste and smell hallucinations.
  6. Suddenly fall attacks (astasia, akinesia).

Therefore it is necessary for the patient’s parents or the people closest to observe how the process to obtain a clear feature because the different seizure types require different treatments.



The Conclusion

Because the stigmas that are in the community, the epilepsy is often not treated by a doctor but by a shaman because they thought epilepsy was a curse.

Therefore expected that with a little knowledge about epilepsy, people know more about epilepsy and also the cooperation of the community is required to immediately bring family members or relatives who have seizures / epilepsy in order to get immediate assistance from a medical doctor because the epileptic seizures according to WHO 70% of cases can be controlled.

Written by Catherine Maname Uli

The References :

  1. Mengenal Kesurupan. Available from the URL: http://www.eryevolutions.co.cc/2010/06/mengenal-kesurupanprimbon.html
  2. A manual for Medical and Clinical Officers in Africa. 2002. Available from the URL : http://www.who.int/mental_health/media/en/639.pdf
  3. Psychosocial Effects and Evaluation of The Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients Suffering from Well-Controlled Epilepsy. 2004. Available from the URL : www.springerlink.com/index/XYYPW3WX4RJAV3CG.pdf
  4. The Quality of Life of Epileptic Patients. 2008. Available from the URL : http://www.univmed.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/harsono1.pdf
  5. ??
  6. Pembawa Pesan Kesehatan. 2008. Available from the URL : http://www.amifrance.org/IMG/pdf_HM9_Mental_Health.pdf
  7. Kebijakan Penanggulangan Masalah Epilepsi di Indonesia. 1998. Available from the URL : http://isjd.pdii.lipi.go.id/admin/jurnal/3198917.pdf

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