PEOPLE with epilepsy should seek medical advice immediately for treatment before their condition worsens, said Dr Shrish Acharya, a specialist physician at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.
Dr Acharya who has helped epileptic patients for years said a lot of families and people with epilepsy in Fiji stayed away from hospitals because of the stigma associated with the condition.
"If they do not seek medical advice and treatment soon, their conditions could get worse and uncontrollable and sometimes be damaging not only to themselves but to those around them," Dr Acharya said.
He said there were different types of epilepsy, each ranging from its own unique combination of seizures. Some seizures are severe which are called tonic-clonic seizures while others are almost unnoticeable where a person may just stare for a few seconds.
"Epilepsy is treatable with medication, and in some cases cured," he said.
Dr Acharya said most people in Fiji only come into hospitals for treatment as a last resort after they had undergone all the traditional and herbal medications they could get.
He said people needed to be aware of epilepsy so as to stop the stigma associated with the condition and prevent any sudden unexplained death in epileptic patients (SUDEP).
"We hear of cases where people think epilepsy is caused by evil spirits, a curse or witchcraft. Some reasons we've heard that it is a mental illness — these are some of the reasons people turn to other forms of treatment instead of medication because there is hardly any understanding out there.