Epilepsy: what do Indian public living in Jammu know?

Rajiv Kumar Gupta, Parveen Singh, Pawan Sharma, Renu Rani, Rashmi Kumari, Riya Gupta


Background: Epilepsy, a neurological disorder, still remains one of the most stigmatising disease. Myths, beliefs and negative attitudes associated with the disease have been ascribed to the low levels of awareness and knowledge among the public. The present study aimed to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the public regarding epilepsy visiting a tertiary care hospital in Jammu city of Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted over a period of three months among adult persons (aged 18 years and above) visiting OPD in a tertiary care teaching hospital in Jammu city, J&K, India. A 29-item questionnaire was pilot tested and then distributed to 410 adults during the survey period and 30 of them were excluded as they had never heard about epilepsy.

Results: About 92.6% of the surveyed respondents had heard about epilepsy with mass media and family/ friends as the major sources of knowledge. 59.7% knew a person suffering from epilepsy and 30.7% had actually witnessed an attack of seizure. Only one-fourth of the respondents knew the disease to be a neurological disorder. More than half of the respondents would object to their children being associated with epileptic person in the school but surprisingly 63% would accept to work/become a friend with epileptic person. About 41% respondents would take patient in seizure to hospital while 43.5% would put a shoe on his nose.

Conclusions: The public knowledge was found to be reasonably good, but attitudes were found to be of mixed type while practices were also not up to the desired levels. Need is for persistent and effective information campaigns to change public attitudes towards person with epilepsy.


Attitude, Epilepsy, Knowledge, Practices

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