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New research uncovers the truth of epilepsy

A NEW research report has revealed that the stigma associated with epilepsy is more problematic than the condition itself.

The research, which was commissioned by Epilepsy Tasmania, confirms similar findings by the World Health Organisation and has shone a spotlight on the disorder within the Tasmanian population.

Epilepsy Tasmania chief executive officer Wendy Groot said epilepsy remained “widely misunderstood” in Tasmania.

“Fifty-three per cent of Tasmanians living with epilepsy have experienced discrimination and 51 per cent of those were in the last 12-months,” she said.

“The most common place for discrimination is the workplace, followed closely by educational environments.”

A common and serious condition that affects nerve cell activity in the brain, epilepsy often results in unpredictable and recurring seizures.

One in 25 Australians will develop epilepsy at some point during their life, regardless of age and ethnicity.

Following the report’s findings, Ms Groot said Epilepsy Tasmania would now redirect its focus to raising awareness of the risk of epilepsy among older Tasmanians, as well as its comorbidity to other health conditions.

“Epilepsy has been discovered to be up to eight times more common in people with other health conditions and we are now seeing an increasing number of older people being diagnosed with the condition,” she said.

“The findings of this report will help to meet the needs of the 20,000 Tasmanians who will develop epilepsy during their life and the 80,000 people affected by the condition, including family, carers, employers and friends.”

For more information, visit www.epilepsytasmania.org.au.

Caption: Epilepsy Tasmania chief executive officer Wendy Groot with the research report which sheds new light on the disorder in Tasmania.

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