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Public attitudes to epilepsy 'stuck in dark ages', survey finds

Scottish social care charity Quarriers commissioned an online poll of 505 people, conducted by research firm ComRes, which found that 30 per cent of people with epilepsy had been ignored as they lay on the ground during a seizure.

Twenty-eight per cent said they had been laughed at while having a seizure and almost three-quarters (72 per cent) claimed their career progression and choices had been affected by their condition.

Overall, 69 per cent of respondents admitted they were worried about the public’s attitudes towards epilepsy, while a third revealed they were reluctant to leave home in case they had a seizure.

Commenting on the findings, Gerry Gahagan, head of clinical services at Quarriers, said people’s attitudes were stuck in the ‘dark ages’.

Epilepsy Society ran a public attitudes survey in 2003 with a follow-up ten years later.  In 2013, the survey found that public awareness of epilepsy had changed little over the last decade. The results showed that around one in five people would try to restrain someone during an epileptic seizure and two per cent of the population still believed epilepsy was contagious.

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