Author: John Carter

Alcoholic Seizure: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

alcohol seizures

Thereby, we attempted to increase subjects’ receptivity to the questions and avoid patients answering the questions in a more socially acceptable way. In several test-interviews, patients were intimidated when being asked about nicotine, alcohol, and illicit drug intake in front of their companions. Therefore, all interviews were held in a separate study room where only the interviewer and the patient were present.

Doctors or family and friends can provide early intervention, which can help you avoid alcohol-related neurologic disease. Completely avoiding alcohol and eating a balanced diet can help minimize damage. Your chances for recovery depend on how early the disease is diagnosed and how much damage has already occurred. Researchers have not determined if this is caused by the effects of alcohol on the brain or is the result of thiamine deficiency.

  1. Your chances for recovery depend on how early the disease is diagnosed and how much damage has already occurred.
  2. Experiencing this kind of seizure can make you hurt yourself by biting your tongue or hitting your head.
  3. However, there have been reports that the risk of seizure increases in an alcohol-dependent person who misuses a sedative and takes nonsedative AEDs.
  4. In a 2019 study, researchers showed that quitting alcohol had a positive effect on most people’s mental well-being.
  5. Find in-depth information on anti-seizure medications so you know what to ask your doctor.

Fifteen out of 95 (15.8%) alcohol-experienced but now abstinent subjects had experienced alcohol-related seizures in the past. In that group, the mean amount of alcohol intake prior to the seizures was 10.9 standard drinks. All of these patients stated that they had stopped alcohol consumption because of the experience of alcohol-related seizures. Human and animal data have shown that acute alcohol intake has a biphasic effect on the central nervous system (CNS). Initially, the inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic effect of alcohol exerts CNS depressant and anticonvulsant properties (4, 5). In the post-alcohol state, however, when alcohol blood levels decline, neuronal excitability is increased which may facilitate the occurrence of seizures in patients with epilepsy (6, 7).

Study population

Alcohol-related seizures can happen when people are acutely intoxicated. It can also occur when an alcoholic suddenly stops drinking and experiences alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol-related neurologic disease refers to a range of conditions caused by alcohol intake that affect the nerves and nervous system. Neurologic disorders can include fetal alcohol syndrome, dementia, and alcoholic neuropathy. Another one of the big reasons people with epilepsy are warned not to consume alcohol is that many of the anti-seizure and anti-epileptic drugs that treat epilepsy do not mix well with alcohol.

alcohol seizures

Apart from this, there is little research on the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures in patients with epilepsy. A double-blinded, randomized, interventional study on 52 subjects with epilepsy demonstrated that a social alcohol intake over a 4-month-period did not increase seizure frequencies (2). In another interventional study on 14 patients with epilepsy and 10 healthy controls, acute moderate alcohol consumption initially suppressed epileptiform EEG-activity.

Symptoms are generally mild during the first 12–24 hours of withdrawal but increase in intensity around the third day without alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal seizures can occur within a few hours or up to 72 hours after stopping drinking. Alcohol consumption usually represents a taboo in the doctor-patient relationship and questions on the smoking status are answered more easily.

How can alcohol-related neurologic disease be prevented?

An alcohol withdrawal seizure may feel like a loss of consciousness which you are slow to wake up from. If you are conscious during an alcohol withdrawal seizure, you may experience repetitive, uncontrolled movements of part or all of your body. Prior to the seizure, you may also experience an “aura,” consisting of an unusual visual change, smell, taste, or sound caused by abnormal brain activity.

Withdrawal seizures can begin within just a few hours after stopping drinking, or they can take up to 72 hours to start. Withdrawal is something that happens when your body has become dependent on the presence of drugs or alcohol. If you are dependent on alcohol, it’s important to participate in a medically-supervised detox program, which can help alleviate the risks of the situation. Second, as patients were interviewed retrospectively on the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures, we were not able to provide data on AED drug levels after the acute manifestation of these seizures.

Alcohol acts by stimulating receptors in your brain that cause brain activity to be suppressed. Alcohol itself does not normally cause seizures, but during withdrawal, when the suppressive activity of alcohol is removed, your brain will be more susceptible to seizures than it normally would. There are some specific considerations that may affect your risk of seizures when using alcohol. According to older research, alcohol consumption may have a causal relationship with seizures, and people who drink 200 g or more of alcohol daily may have up to a 20-fold increase in seizure risk. Heavy, long-term alcohol use and withdrawal from alcohol can lead to seizures. Alcohol can also trigger seizures if you have epilepsy and often interacts poorly with anti-seizure medications.

Drinking alcohol in small amounts generally does not trigger seizures, but seizures can result from alcohol withdrawal. Finally, the present study population was exclusively recruited at a tertiary care epilepsy center where usually patients with more severe variants of the disease are treated. This indicates a potential selection bias and our results may not be generalized to all epilepsy patients without restrictions. Independent predictors for the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures within the last 12 months in patients with epilepsy. Doctors and pharmacists are always warning people with epilepsy about alcohol.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption (Alcohol Poisoning)

Although these are general guidelines, your tolerance or consumption recommendation can vary based on your overall health, size, and medical condition. Below is a collection of FAQs based on what we do know about this subject. Find in-depth information on anti-seizure medications so you know what to ask your doctor. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, seizures by themselves typically are not fatal.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, some studies have linked chronic alcohol misuse to the development of epilepsy. This article looks at the connection between alcohol, seizures, and epilepsy, as well as treatment options and support. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as seizures. An alcohol-related seizure may result in your inability to control your actions, which could be dangerous. Excessive consumption of alcohol causes alcohol-related neurologic disease.

However, they may cause people to fall and sustain potentially serious injuries, such as head injuries. Experiencing this kind of seizure can make you hurt yourself by biting your tongue or hitting your head. Some tests can be performed by a doctor to rule out other causes of neurologic symptoms.