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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 104-110

Public attitudes and knowledge toward epilepsy in ismailia governorate

1 Professor of Neurology, Neuropsychiatry Department, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt
2 Lecturer of Neurology, Neuropsychiatry Department, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt
3 Lecturer of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry Department, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt
4 Resident in the Department of Neuropsychiatry, Mansoura International Hospital, Mansoura, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Mona El sayed
Lecturer of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry Department, Suez Canal University, Ismailia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-1105.193016

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Objective This study was conducted to find out knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy among a sample of people living in Ismailia governorate in Egypt. Patients and methods A cross-sectional survey was conducted by using a face-to-face interview; 840 respondents were included, among whom 420 were from an urban area − Sheikh Zayed district − and 420 were from a rural area − Abu-Sultan village. The survey instrument was a 26-item questionnaire in Arabic form that was designed to evaluate knowledge and attitudes with respect to epilepsy. Results Of the 840 respondents, 91.2% had heard of or read about epilepsy, 24.8% knew someone with epilepsy, and 30.7% had witnessed a seizure. According to the respondents, the main cause of epilepsy was psychological disease (63.7%), followed by evil spirits (Jinn) (49.5%) and a form of insanity (47.4%). Approximately 70% of the respondents (70.7%) agreed that the intelligence of an epileptic patient is below average. About three-quarters of the respondents (74.6%) believed that epilepsy cannot be cured. More than 50% of the respondents believed that an epileptic patient could not get married (57.5%), nor have a child (58.7%). About 80% of the respondents refused to marry an epileptic patient (77.7%) or to marry their child to an epileptic patient (83.0%). Fifty-nine percent of the respondents would not offer a job to a person with epilepsy, and 41.1% refused working with an epileptic patients. The negative attitudes toward an epileptic person were more common among rural, female, less-educated, and elderly respondents. Conclusion Public perception of epilepsy is lacked and needs attention. The study revealed that practices and knowledge toward epilepsy were limited, especially with respect to epilepsy’s cause, manifestation, and management. Continuing effective educational interventions would be needed to improve the appropriate understanding of epilepsy, and to ameliorate the social discrimination and misconceptions against epilepsy.

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