In Australia, around 250,000 people are currently diagnosed with epilepsy – that’s over 1 per cent of the population so chances are most people know someone with the condition.
Epilepsy has been around for a long time and is actually mentioned in ancient literature including the Bible. While it is more common than Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy combined, the condition is widely misunderstood. For example, the majority of people relate epilepsy to seizures but it can take many forms and affects individuals to different degrees.
Contrary to popular belief, epilepsy is a neurological disorder—not a form of mental illness—and seizures are caused by a disruption of the electrical activity in the brain rather than a chemical imbalance. Nor is it necessarily a lifelong disorder. Some childhood epilepsies are outgrown and more than 70% of people with epilepsy become seizure free with medication.