‘Alarming’ stigma leading to epilepsy discrimination

AUSTRALIANS living with epilepsy face high levels of discrimination at school and work, research shows.

A survey of more than 340 people with epilepsy and their carers also found the patients experience significant injuries as a result of their seizures.

Many required hospital treatment for fractures, broken teeth and dislocated shoulders, with one in five experiencing more than 20 seizures in a year. 

The study, conducted by the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria and Epilepsy Australia, found that despite epilepsy being common, with 224,000 Australians diagnosed, half of those surveyed faced discrimination from the community and employers.

Epilepsy Foundation president Professor Mark Cook said the high level of discrimination was alarming.

“People still believe it’s a contagious disease or psychiatric condition, which carries consequences for people at work and school,” he said.