Alcohol as a Seizure Trigger

In fact, people suffering from chronic alcohol abuse increase their risk of developing seizures when they suddenly stop drinking. A study by The Recovery Village found heavy drinkers were 45% more likely than light or moderate drinkers to experience seizures during withdrawal and 73% more likely to have had a seizure in general. Out of 310 interviewed subjects, 204 (65.8%) had used alcohol within the last 12 months, 158 (51%) within the last 30 days, and 108 (34.8%) within the last 7 days. Antiepileptic drug monotherapy (OR 1.901) and physicians’ advice that a light alcohol intake is harmless (OR 4.102) were independent predictors for alcohol use within the last 12 months (Tables ​(Tables2,2, ​,3).3).

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Most states require people with epilepsy to be seizure-free for a specific period, typically three to six months, in order to drive, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. A few states, including California and Pennsylvania, require physicians to report lapses of consciousness to local health or transportation authorities. Alcohol dependence, also known as ‘alcoholism’ or cocaine withdrawal symptoms going through cocaine detox alcohol addiction, is serious and can lead to a range of health problems. People who are dependent on alcohol may experience a strong, often uncontrollable, desire to drink and feel they’re unable to function without alcohol. Drugs.com provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products.

  1. This means a person will become intoxicated faster than they used to before they were on the medication.
  2. Epilepsy can cause seizures to occur with more mild levels of alcohol withdrawal than would occur in most people.
  3. Status epilepticus is a life threatening condition in which a person has a seizure lasting longer than 5 minutes without regaining normal consciousness or has more than one seizure within 5 minutes.
  4. Patients with cortical atrophy had a significantly higher mean duration of alcohol intake compared to those who had no atrophy.
  5. People with alcohol withdrawal seizures may also experience tremors, hallucinations, muscle spasms, and a rapid heart rate.

Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Seizures in Patients With Epilepsy

People with or without epilepsy can have seizures after heavy drinking. Alcohol withdrawal seizures are most likely to happen between 6 and 48 hours after your last drink. Heavy alcohol use can lead to seizures, especially when you stop drinking and start to enter a period of withdrawal. However, if you have a seizure disorder or epilepsy, you also face risks when drinking alcohol—both from the increased risk of seizure activity and potential interactions with seizure medications. 14 patients in our study had seizures within 6 h of intake of alcohol (6H-gp). When we analyzed this subgroup we found that 8 patients had no significant withdrawal symptoms and the mean lifetime duration of alcohol intake was significantly lower in them compared with the rest.

Table 1. Common Seizure Medications

This indicates the potential role of alcohol itself in inducing seizures, rather than the withdrawal state. Hence this group of patients can potentially be considered to have alcohol induced seizures rather than withdrawal seizures. He had one seizure within 6 h of intake of alcohol and no withdrawal symptoms. He had no history of myoclonic jerks or absence seizures and probably had IGE with GTCS. Considering all alcohol induced seizures as unmasking of late onset IGE would be unwise. IGE is more likely to be detected in this subgroup of patients who have seizures within 6 h of alcohol intake and without any withdrawal symptoms.

Epilepsy Centers

The timeframe will be different for everyone, but seizures will normally start within the first 72 hours. Once clarity is achieved, assessment of the risk of alcohol consumption in different clinical situations will be an effective step for the prevention of epilepsy in the general population. Alcohol misuse can lead to neurological damage that can affect multiple areas of a person’s health and well-being. The best way to avoid the issue is to limit alcoholic consumption to 2 or fewer drinks per day for males and 1 or fewer for females. You can work with your health care professional to balance seizure control and medicine side effects.

These say that adults should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. People with certain types of epilepsy could be more likely to have seizures as a result a timeline for the restoration of cognitive abilities after quitting alcohol of drinking alcohol than others. People who have focal seizures may be more able to safely drink small amounts of alcohol than those with generalised seizures.

Withdrawal symptoms can be physical and psychological, and range in severity from mild to severe. Some tests can be performed by a doctor to rule out other causes of neurologic symptoms. The leaflet that comes with your epilepsy medicine should tell you if alcohol interacts with your medicine and what to do if you are sick. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information.

In our series, 22% of patients had clustering of seizures in the current episode, out of which eighteen had cortical atrophy on CT scan of the brain. Evidence of cerebral atrophy in patients with ARS portends an increased risk for developing clustering. Thus, evidence for cortical atrophy on CT scan of the brain can be used to identify patients with high risk for clustering and having unprovoked seizures. All subjects gave informed written consent to participate in the study and approval of the Institutional Ethics committee was obtained. We collected details of alcohol use and seizures from patient and a reliable informant in case the patient was in delirium. Withdrawal symptoms and its temporal relationship with seizure were also assessed.

The aim of this study is to characterize the clinical profile of patients with alcohol related seizures (ARS) and to identify the prevalence of idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) in the same. “Further large cohort studies of the general population are required to assert a definite causal relationship between alcohol consumption and epilepsy and to identify a potential threshold,” Prof. Kim suggests. Moreover, since cohort studies include more subjects, and are less prone to biases, they comparatively provide more accurate relationships between exposure and development of a disorder. Independent predictors for the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures within the last 12 months in patients with epilepsy. The choice about whether to drink alcohol as someone with epilepsy goes beyond, “Does alcohol cause epileptic seizures?

We aim to raise public awareness and improve education through publications, conferences, outreach initiatives and our website. Alcohol works by altering GABA — a neurotransmitter that exists within the brain. When people drink, their brains don’t respond to GABA normally, and they feel sedated and calm.

Irritation of the gray matter causes a temporary interruption of the brain’s circuitry, said Dr. Daniel Menkes, professor and chair of neurology for Corewell Health in southeast Michigan. At this point, police have no reason to believe Chidester took any evasive action such as stopping or swerving before the collision, but it remains under investigation, Monroe County Undersheriff Joe Hammond said. He couldn’t comment on whether alcohol and diabetes there are any relevant medical conditions but said it’s part of the investigation. His team is collaborating with Mass General’s Research Patient Data Registry to obtain de-identified patient records, which they plan to review for instances of stigmatizing language. He hopes the process will help researchers quantify the prevalence of such language in clinical notes and identify patterns that can inform interventions.

Heavy alcohol consumption is a common trigger for seizures in those who already have epilepsy. Seizure medicines can lower your tolerance for alcohol, so the immediate effects of alcohol consumption are greater. Rapid intoxication is a big problem because many of the side effects of these medicines are similar to the acute effects of alcohol itself. If you are sensitive to alcohol or seizure medicines, you may find the combination even worse.

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