Over 30 million people in India suffer from different kinds of neurological disorders
The number of people suffering from neurological disorders is as high as 2,394 patients per 1,00,000 of the population in India.
However, awareness about various forms of neurological disorders is very poor. People suffering from these illnesses end up being ridiculed or stigmatized.
Lack of awareness and understanding leads to people with neurological disorders being subject to various taboos. This affects the lives of patients, their chances of seeking treatment, and even makes their condition worse.
The number of deaths due to neurological disorders has increased by 36.7% across the world between 1990 and 2015. Neurological diseases make up 16.8% of global deaths.
Some of the taboos faced by neurologists while treating patients are:
- Insanity - This is the most commonly associated taboo with people with neurological disorders. People often label patients with Alzheimer's as senile and those with epilepsy as crazy.
- Weak mind - People assume that neurological disorders are the result of a weak mind. They assume that someone with epilepsy or Parkinson's will have less IQ than an average person.
- Superstition - India has high illiteracy rates. This means superstitions flourish in many parts of India, especially the rural areas. Neurological disorders like epilepsy are associated with demonic possessions.
- Treatment - A neurological disorder is seen as untreatable. This belief is prevalent even in urban areas. People assume it will be a lifelong burden, with no cure.
- Association - People tend to stigmatize any form of association with patients. This causes suffering in the social and personal lives of these patients.