Celebrities Living with Disabilities: Epilepsy

Celebrities Living with Disabilities: Epilepsy

While they might seem next to invincible up on stage or fighting crime on the silver screen, it’s important to know that famous actors and musicians also deal with serious chronic illness and long-term disabilities. Today, we share another blog in our series on Celebrities with Long-Term Disabilities, with a focus on Epilepsy. Click here to read other posts in the series, on Skin Cancer, Lyme Disease, Lupus, Diabetes, Brain Aneurysms, and HIV/AIDS.

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Epileptic seizures can have a huge impact on a person’s life, affecting their safety, their relationships and even limiting the type of work they can do. The condition can affect people of all ages and although it can often be linked to brain injuries or a family history, the causes of Epilepsy are unknown in most cases.

Epileptic seizures can result in physical injuries like bruises and broken bones. They can happen anywhere at any time and can be brought on by a number of factors, including stress, flickering lights, alcohol use or even simply a lack of sleep. Thankfully the seizures are controllable with medication in most cases, but even with treatment, there’s still a serious stigma that accompanies the disorder.

Hugo Weaving Living With Epilepsy

Hugo Weaving - Epilepsy - Share Lawyers

“I was diagnosed as Epileptic when I was 13 and had seizures once a year until my 40s… With every fit, my last thought was always: ‘I’m dying.’”

As a result of his Epilepsy, Weaving was never able to obtain his driver’s license and still doesn’t drive to this day. “I can’t be bothered. It’s easier to walk. At least, that’s my excuse.” The seizures that accompanied his Epilepsy weren’t the only thing that had a serious impact on Weaving’s life. The medication he was prescribed to treat his condition altered his mood and personality for decades.

“People always thought I was laid back, but I was basically doped for 30 years on epilepsy drugs. I ran out of my meds filming in the desert and went cold turkey. I was on a moderately high dose and it was masking a nervous anxiety I didn’t know I had.”

Weaving’s seizures stopped in his 40s, but not everyone is so lucky. Rocker Neil Young has been living with Epilepsy since still his early years and still lives with the condition well into his 70s:

Neil Young Living With Epilepsy

Neil Young - Epilepsy - Share Lawyers

 

“I thought I had it licked…. Epilepsy is something nobody knows much about. It’s just part of me. Part of my head, part of what’s happening in there. Sometimes something in my brain triggers it off.”

For many, like Young, Epilepsy is a lifelong medical challenge and one that can affect many aspects of their personal and work lives. Seizure signs and symptoms may include temporary confusion, staring, uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs, or loss of consciousness or awareness. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Were you surprised by any of the celebrities who live with Epilepsy? Do you know any other celebrities who have the disorder?


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Sources: The Guardian, Rolling Stone