We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy

New survey reveals impact of epilepsy on men

15 September, 2005

Fifty per cent of
men with epilepsy say that the condition and its treatment affects
their relationships with family and friends, according to a survey by the charity Epilepsy Action.

The
charity surveyed over 300 men epilepsy to investigate how having the
condition impacts on their lives. The findings reveal that around half
of those questioned feel that the condition and its treatment affects
their relationships with their partner (48.2 per cent), other members
of their family (54.3 per cent) and friends (49.2 per cent). Over a
quarter of respondents feel that their epilepsy and its treatment
affects their ability to be a good parent, while over a third feel that
their sexual relationships are affected.

Recent
studies have shown that there are almost 1,000 deaths each year in the
UK as a result of epilepsy and around 500 cases of these are due to
Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). Although further research
is needed, it appears that there are certain common factors that link
many of the cases, one of which is being a young adult, particularly
male.

Amanda Stoneman, Epilepsy Action's information services officer, said:

'It
is vital that men have a good knowledge and understanding of epilepsy,
so they can make sure they are getting the best treatment. It will also
allow them to make their own choices on how to live with epilepsy and
reduce the risks of SUDEP, for example by ensuring that they take their
medication as prescribed.'

Epilepsy
Action has highlighted the fact that whilst there is lots of
information for women with the condition, there is very little that is
specifically aimed at men. The organisation has used these survey
results to develop a new information booklet called ‘Epilepsy and Men',
which is designed to empower men living with epilepsy and to contribute
to improving their quality of life.

Tom Smith, the Scottish international and Northampton Saints rugby star, who has had epilepsy for 15 years, said:

'This
booklet gives an insight into the real thoughts and feelings of men
living with epilepsy. If you are a man with epilepsy, this booklet will
help you to have a better understanding of your condition and to be
aware of those times when it may be a good idea to visit your doctor.'

The
survey results also reveal that for many men with epilepsy, the
possible consequences of the condition, for example loss of driving
licence and restrictions on employment opportunities, can have a
considerable social and psychological impact. Seventy-two per cent of
the man surveyed said epilepsy and its treatment affects their social
life and activities; their confidence (77 per cent); their sense of
self esteem (71 per cent) and their plans for the future (74 per cent).