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    "YOUR EPILEPSY AND ITS TREATMENT"
    Foreword

        People are becoming more and more aware that epilepsy involves not only epileptic patients and their doctors because epilepsy is more than just a medical condition. Epilepsy also has a number of socio-psychological consequences resulting from the attitudes with which society reacts to the illness.
        Epilepsy has a long history. Over the ages, and in the second half of the nineteenth century in particular, society was very prejudiced and although this attitude is now slowly changing, even today many people misunderstand epilepsy. This applies to both the strictly medical aspects of the condition and to its social aspects. Prejudice is particularly strong in people who know very little about epilepsy or have next to no contact with epileptic patients. World-wide experience to date, drawn from activities addressed to epileptic patients, suggests that strictly patient-focused strategies are not leading to satisfactory evolution of the social perception of epilepsy and epileptic patients in the work place, at school and in the community. Although patients themselves may know that they are not mentally ill and that their malady is not congenital, hereditary or degenerative, that epileptic seizures may last seconds or minutes, that the vast majority of epileptic patients have no attacks for weeks, months or even years, that affected children and adults may behave, study and work quite normally, just like every other member of the community, all this has very little effect on the social perception of epilepsy and epileptic patients. Society still holds on to the nineteenth-century belief that it is impossible to study, work or behave normally if one has epilepsy.
        This biased view, embraced and repeated even today by people who otherwise stand up for the epileptic patient, is rooted in an unsubstantiated generalisation which may be true with respect to a few or a dozen or so patients at most. In this group the epilepsy is usually accompanied by serious brain damage which manifests itself in a variety of motor or intellectual symptoms.
        The truth is that the vast majority of epileptic patients can study, work and socialise provided they respect certain rules. And although these rules do restrict them somewhat, we must remember that people suffering from other conditions such as diabetes, heart, liver or gastrointestinal diseases, allergies or migraine must also follow certain regimes.

        The truth is that the vast majority of epileptic patients can study, work and socialise provided they respect certain rules. And although these rules do restrict them somewhat, we must remember that people suffering from other conditions such as diabetes, heart, liver or gastrointestinal diseases, allergies or migraine must also follow certain regimes.

        The Foundation of Epileptology also has as its mission to inform medical professionals about epilepsy. I hope that this brochure will help not only patients to gain a better understanding of the principles of conduct and treatment.



    Professor Jerzy Majkowski, M.D.
    President of the Foundation of Epileptology Executive Board