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Social consequences of epilepsy: A study of 231 Nigerian patients

Author(s): Nuhu Folorunsho | Fawole Joseph | Babalola Obafemi | Ayilara Olaniyi | Sulaiman Zainab

Journal: Annals of African Medicine
ISSN 1596-3519

Volume: 9;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 170;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Epilepsy | social consequences

Background: Epilepsy is the commonest neurological disorder and majority of the sufferers are found in the developing countries. It is associated with psychological and social problems. The aim of this study was to determine the social difficulties experienced by epileptic patients and the factors that are associated with these difficulties. Methods: Two hundred and thirty-one consecutive epileptic patients who were of age 10 years and above, and who had no co-morbid major psychiatric disorder, seen over a 6-month period at the outpatient clinic of Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Kaduna, were interviewed. We used an instrument designed for the purpose of this study, which focused on people′s attitudes to epilepsy, relationship/marital, employment and academic problems. Results: The mean age of the subjects was 28 ± 13.2 years; 59.3% were males; 44.6% said people make negative remarks about their illness; 14.1% have been denied leadership role; 36.4% were irregular at work; 37.3% performed poorly at work; 22.5% have had their marriage proposals rejected; 19.5% have been abandoned by spouse. At least 39.4% had poor academic performance while 19.5% were withdrawn from school because of epilepsy. Short seizure-free period, long duration of seizure disorder and family history of epilepsy were significantly associated with social problems. Conclusion: Social difficulties are common among epileptics. Effort should be made to educate the society about epilepsy, and physicians treating patients with epilepsy should aim at achieving a good seizure control.
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