July 3, 2023

Unraveling the Myths Around Epilepsy: A Cross-Sectional Study of Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices Among Pakistani Individuals

Abstract found on PubMed

Introduction: Across its historical trajectory, epilepsy has frequently been linked to evil forces, particularly in the sub-continent. This research was created to find out if educated Pakistanis still believe that epilepsy is caused by being possessed by spirits (Jinns). The objective of the study is to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) regarding epilepsy within the educated populace of Pakistan.


Method: After approval from the Ethical Review Committee, a population-based cross-sectional design was conducted in Chakwal District, Pakistan between February 1, 2018, and June 1, 2020, to evaluate the general knowledge and attitudes of the public toward epilepsy. A non-probability convenience sampling technique was utilized to recruit participants from different socioeconomic backgrounds across Chakwal District, and only individuals aged 18 years or older with at least 12 years of education were eligible to participate. A previously validated structured questionnaire was used to document findings. The study focused on several variables, such as knowledge about epilepsy and the percentage of people who have witnessed seizures, as well as sources of knowledge, subjective causes of epilepsy, beliefs in cure, transmission, and treatment options.

Results: The survey included 512 participants, and the age distribution was as follows: 18-29 years old accounted for 18% of the respondents, 30-44 years old accounted for 35%, and 45-60 years old accounted for 31%. There was a female predominance with a frequency of 312 (60.9%). When asked about their sources of knowledge about epilepsy, the majority of participants (59.57%) reported learning about epilepsy from friends and relatives. A smaller percentage (18.36%) reported learning about epilepsy from schools, while another 20.31% heard about epilepsy from media and relatives.


Conclusion: The results of this research show that the general populace of Pakistan has a serious dearth of comprehension and information about epilepsy. Participants frequently held misconceptions about epilepsy being a hereditary disease and a mental condition, highlighting the need for focused education and information efforts to dispel these falsehoods. The fact that most participants got their knowledge about epilepsy from peers and family also emphasizes the value of peer education and social networks in spreading awareness of the disease.