Support from Peers May Help Epilepsy Patients

According to a new study that was led by a medical student at Michigan State University, support groups held by patient peers assist in fighting the stigma that often is associated with epilepsy. The results of this study were reported in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior.

Even with a wide variety of prescription medications available to treat epilepsy (like Topamax), there is still a stigma attached to the seizures themselves, says Melissa Elafros, who is pursuing medical and doctoral degrees in MSU’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

“In Africa, a lot of people think epilepsy is contagious or associated with witchcraft,” she said. “If you’re told something often enough, you start to believe it’s true. So people with epilepsy start to internalize that stigma.”

She says that this shame is what causes many people to stop taking their medications and why some epileptic students drop out of school. It is for this reason that peer support groups are said to help patients to deal with the stigma. The results of this study are believed to provide epileptics of all ages to find some hope. While there are numerous studies that describe the stigmas related to epilepsy, very few of them sought to find ways to fix the problem.

“This (study) shows we can finally do something for people with epilepsy,” she said. “The idea that you could intervene in a teenager’s life and help them better cope with a condition they may have for the rest of their life — I think that’s really quite significant.”

Epilepsy is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The condition is often treated with prescription drugs like Topamax, which is used to prevent seizures. However, the pills have been linked to serious side effects, which include PPHN, oral clefts, spina bifida and neural tube defects.

If your baby has suffered from birth defects after being exposed to Topamax in-utero, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injury.


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