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Epilepsy Fast Facts


  • Epilepsy is the most common, serious neurological disorder worldwide1
  • Epilepsy affects more than 500,000 people in the UK equating to 1 in 100 people living with the disorder2
  • 63,400 cases of epilepsy include children and young adults under the age of 183 Up to 31% of people with a diagnosis of epilepsy are misdiagnosed in the UK. This means that the true cause of their illness is left untreated and unnecessary costs are incurred on antiepileptic treatment.3
  • The incidence of developing epilepsy varies by age and it is reported that there are approximately 32,000 new cases of epilepsy in the UK each year3

Social and emotional impact of Epilepsy

  • Studies have reported high levels of depression and social anxiety in patients with epilepsy with figures as high as 55% in patients attending hospital clinics4
  • Given the stigma associated with epilepsy, 33% of people with the disorder fear having a seizure in public; making them less likely to leave their homes5
  • 48% of people over 16 with mild epilepsy consider a driving ban to have a main impact on their lives.6

Productivity with epilepsy

  • People living with epilepsy are prohibited from certain occupations including working as an aircraft pilot, ambulance driver, merchant seaman, taxi driver, train driver, and joining the armed services, due to the potential hazards of a seizure7
  • In England, Wales and Scotland, 69,700 people with epilepsy were claiming disability living allowance in 2009, with an estimated annual cost of £244 million3

Disease and outcomes

  • In the North East of England, epilepsy is the largest single source of one-day hospital admissions amongst neurological conditions3
  • In 2009, it was reported that 1,150 people died of epilepsy-related causes across the UK.
  • In England and Wales, 11% of these deaths were in young adults and children below the age of 25.3 In England and Wales between 2007 and 2009, 68,422 years of life were lost due to epilepsy in people between one and 74 years of age3
  • 70% of people living with epilepsy could remain seizure-free if they receive optimal treatment3


1. World Health Organization. Neurological disorders, including epilepsy. (accessed October 2012)

2. Epilepsy Society. What is Epilepsy? (accessed June 2012)

3. Deacon K, Wigglesworth S. Epilepsy, prevalence, incidence and other statistics. Joint Epilepsy Council of the UK and Ireland; 2011

4. Jackson MJ, Turkington D. Depression and anxiety in epilepsy. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2005;76:i45-i47

5. Quarriers. Survey of people with epilepsy about their experiences of the condition; Com Res 2012

6. Moran NF et al. Epilepsy in the United Kingdom: seizure frequency and severity, anti-epileptic drug utilization and impact on life in 1652people with epilepsy. Seizure 2004; 13, 425—433

7. Baker GA. Employment. Epilepsy;2011

Oct 2012 - UK/12VPE0061a