Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 165-168

Epilepsy and religion

1 Department of Neurology, GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi - 110 002, India
2 Sant Parmanand Hospital, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Geeta A Khwaja
Department of Neurology, Academic Block, Room No-503, GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi - 110 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.34796

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This study has focused on the interplay between epilepsy and religion. A total of 100 patients in the age range of 15-84 years were included in the study. The duration of epilepsy in these patients ranged from 1-35 years. The majority (66%) had generalized seizures and good to complete seizure control (77%). Regarding social/religious beliefs, 6% of the patients attributed their epilepsy to the curse of God and 14% saw their affliction as a form of punishment for bad deeds committed in the current or past life. Epilepsy was regarded as contagious by 13%. After the onset of epilepsy, 7% of the subjects became skeptics and less religious, while 29% became more religious. Only 2% reported mystic experiences. There was, however, no significant impact of the duration of epilepsy or seizure type on the pattern of religiosity. In 44 cases with symptomatic epilepsy, no definite correlation was observed between the lesion site and laterality and the religious temperament. Delay in seeking treatment and poor compliance due to false religious beliefs, ignorance, and superstition was observed in 33%. However, all religious beliefs were not maladaptive and overall, 80% cases felt that religion had helped them in coping with epilepsy.

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