Disease vs. Condition — Epilepsy Awareness

One of the ways Dictionary.com defines the word Disease is: “Any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society”


One of the ways Dictionary.com defines the word Condition is: “A state of health” or “A restricting, limiting, or modifying circumstance”

Some medical professionals will declare Epilepsy to be a disease while other medical professionals will declare Epilepsy to be a condition. In the definition of disease that I stated above, the definition given says “Any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition”. According to Dictionary.com the word “Depraved” is defined as “corrupt, wicked, or perverted”. Out of the 65 million Epilepsy sufferers around the world, I guarantee that 65 million including friends and family would tell you this is an inaccurate description of the diagnosis they have. I being one of 65 million am saying without hesitation that this is indeed an inaccurate description of the condition I have. Calling Epilepsy a disease and recognizing the definition of the very word, creates stigma. Stigma changes the way people treat one another. Changes the way the person diagnosed is perceived. Having a stigma placed upon you can do so much damage and its something that needs to come to an end. To this day, certain cultures around the world do indeed believe those with Epilepsy are “corrupt, wicked, and perverted”. These people are then beaten, starved, cursed and/or killed for having Epilepsy. For having this so-called “disease”.

I for one, believe that Epilepsy should be declared a condition and ONLY a condition. A neurological seizure condition. Dictionary.com says the word condition means “a state of health” or “a restricting, limiting, or modifying circumstance”. I am diagnosed with Epilepsy and this is my state of health. Yes, I am restricted somewhat because of it. Yes, I am limited to what I can do in some instances. Yes, I do have to modify my life under these circumstances. Even so, Epilepsy doesn’t make me or any one of us a corrupt, wicked, and perverted person. All of us are still the same person we’ve always been. Whether you’re a bubbly outgoing adventurous person, whether you’re a family man/woman, whether you’re a rocket scientist, Epilepsy doesn’t change who you are unless you allow it to. I have Epilepsy and I am outgoing adventurous and I love to laugh. I love life and soak up every moment of it. Epilepsy can’t take that away.

The word “Disease” attached to Epilepsy should forever be eradicated from the texts and mouths of the medical profession anywhere and everywhere forever. Its not the right word to go with. 65 million people including friends and family would agree. Choose condition. Don’t choose disease.


I am a happily-ever-after wife, an Epilepsy Diagnosee, Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness (The Epilepsy Network), life lover & Christ inspired! Life is a journey and I'm loving every moment of it. Even the bumps in the road!

One Comment

  • Markus A. Dahlem

    Hi Tiffany,

    while it is important to understand that what we label as a disease is a social construct that will subsequently also shape our social norms, I think not calling epilepsy a disease is not a good way to argue. First, any disease should then be called a condition, wouldn’t you agree?

    Of course, there is something special. Epilepsie is a chronic disorders (see, I am not even calling it a disease, right now) with episodic manifestations. While many diseases have slow or even sudden deterioration phases and then you get (hopefully) cured.

    But then, many common neurological and psychiatric disorders fit into this category of chronic disorders with episodic manifestations including not only epilepsy but also migraine, stroke, multiple sclerosis, sleep-wake disorders, addictive disorders, schizophrenia and depression, for example.

    Notwithstanding, I read this post with great interest and can see what you are saying. Keep up the good spirit!

    Cheers, Markus

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