The global burden and stigma of epilepsy

Epilepsy Behav. 2008 May;12(4):540-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2007.12.019. Epub 2008 Feb 14.


Epilepsy is one of the most prevalent neurological conditions and it knows no age, racial, social class, geographic, or national boundaries. The impact of epilepsy rests not only on the individual patient, but also on the family and indirectly on the community. The burden of epilepsy may be due to the physical hazards of epilepsy resulting from the unpredictability of seizures; the social exclusion as a result of negative attitudes of others toward people with epilepsy; and the stigma, as children with epilepsy may be banned from school, adults may be barred from marriage, and employment is often denied, even when seizures would not render the work unsuitable or unsafe. Furthermore, epilepsy is a disorder associated with significant psychological consequences, with increased levels of anxiety, depression, and poor self-esteem compared with people without this condition. Here we discuss some of the aspects of the global burden of epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • Epilepsy / economics*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Epilepsy / therapy
  • Global Health
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Prejudice