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Seizures and You: Take Charge of the Facts is an epilepsy awareness program targeting teenagers in middle and high school. The program is designed to take place in one 45-minute class period.Seizures and You: Take Charge of the Facts is part of a multi-year effort to educate teens, dispel myths and reduce the perceived stigma associated with epilepsy.

For Teens

'What Is Epilepsy? How Do I Deal With It?'

Dealing with epilepsy is a challenge -- for teens with the condition and their friends.

Being a teenager is an adventure. From driving to dating, sports to activities, homework to your first job, teenagers face big challenges. Teens who have epilepsy (also known as seizure disorders) face other big challenges too--such as explaining seizures to other people; wondering how their friends are going to react; and never knowing when the next seizure's going to happen.

A big challenge is the fact that other teens may not know much about epilepsy. Nobody wants to be different, but sometimes there are differences that affect people's lives -- and people just have to deal with it.

Answering some of the questions that teens have is what this section of our website is all about. We hope it helps.

Teen Survey

The following are some key findings from a national survey conducted in 2007:

  • Of seven diseases or disorders mentioned, teens are least familiar with epilepsy. More than two-thirds (68 percent) are either "not too familiar" or "not at all familiar" with epilepsy and only 8 percent are "very familiar."
  • Only about half of the teens (52 percent) surveyed have ever heard of or read about epilepsy.
  • Due to a lack of knowledge about this disorder, most teens do not fear epilepsy. Fear is higher among teens that know more about epilepsy.
  • The majority of teens surveyed do not know about the specific nature of epilepsy. For example, they do not know if it is contagious, if it is a mental illness, whether doctors know its cause, or if people die from seizures.
  • Teenagers are mostly unclear about the levels of stigma associated with epilepsy. One third (37 percent) however, did view kids with epilepsy as more likely to be bullied or picked on by peers.
  • Teens are unable to describe how epilepsy can impact lifestyle. The biggest misconceptions involve people with epilepsy and driving. One in five surveyed think people with epilepsy cannot drive cars and only 32 percent know that most can drive.
  • Two-thirds (67 percent) of teens responded that they would not or probably not know what to do if someone had a seizure.
  • Awareness and understanding of epilepsy tends to be higher among girls, older students, and white students.
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven MD
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Wednesday, March 19, 2014