Observational studies suggest that persons with seizure disorders are socially disadvantaged compared to the general population. There are scarce reports in the literature on the prevalence of employment and occupational safety among patients with seizure disorders in Saudi Arabia. We aimed to describe the occupational statuses of patients with seizure disorders and determine factors associated with unemployment.
This was a cross-sectional study conducted at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Five-hundred-and-forty patients with known seizure disorders or epilepsy who attended neurology and neurosurgery outpatient clinics between January and November 2018 completed a semi-structured questionnaire delivered by interview.
Forty-four percent of participants were unemployed (27% of males and 64% of females). Fifteen percent of currently or previously employed participants reported that they had formerly resigned from their job due to their seizure disorder, most commonly as a result of their own fears or concerns. Almost half of the participants reported that their employer made arrangements in the workplace for their seizure disorder, while 18% reported that they did not disclose their diagnosis. Gender, age, and highest educational level were associated with employment status and reason for unemployment. Patients with seizures secondary to trauma were less than half as likely to be employed compared to other participants (aOR = 0.45 95%CI 0.21-0.97, p = 0.042). Holding a driving license increased the odds of being employed (aOR = 2.68 95%CI 1.32-5.46, p = 0.007). Participants on 4 or more antiepileptic medications were more likely to report not being well enough to work.
Patients with seizure disorders are at increased risk of unemployment, even though many desire work. Unemployment is linked to social factors rather than disease-specific characteristics. Employers in Saudi Arabia generally accommodate patients in the workplace; however, individuals should further be empowered with information on safety in the workplace and their rights to employment.

Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.