30 pct of Turkish epilepsy patients consult with exorcists, spiritualists
Some 30 percent of the 750,000 epilepsy patients in Turkey have sought relief for their condition with exorcists or spiritualists, according to Professor İbrahim Öztura, daily Habertürk reported on Dec. 1.
Öztura, who lectures on neurology at Dokuz Eylül University, has warned patients against such practices, stating that exorcists or spiritualists can retard or disrupt treatment.
“Epilepsy is no different from heart or lung problems. Sixty percent of patients can be treated with one or two drugs. Resistant patients can be treated with surgical treatment,” he said.
“Relatives of the patient can mislead them regarding treatment, by telling them they have been struck by an evil spirit. Society needs to be more aware of this issue,” Öztura said.
He said epilepsy was an ancient illness dating back to the prehistoric period.
“Epilepsy entails a short period of brain dysfunction. It is the consequence of abnormal electrical activity in brain cells. It is seen equally in women and men. Seizures can occur at any age, but are more common during childhood and old age,” Öztura said.
The professor also said epilepsy was the most common neurological disease after headaches among patients.
“It affects one percent of the world’s population,” he added.
Epilepsy is characterized by a long-term risk of recurrent seizures. These seizures may take several different forms depending on the part of the brain involved and the person’s age.
The cause of most cases of epilepsy is unknown. Some cases occur as the result of brain injury, stroke, brain tumors, infections of the brain and birth defects, through a process known as epileptogenesis.