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Alcohol-Induced Seizures: Can Drinking Cause Seizures?

alcohol withdrawal seizure

This conclusion is consistent with observations from studies of cerebral glucose metabolism (see previous section entitled Metabolic Changes Following Alcohol Withdrawal). In chronic alcohol abusers, it seems likely that kindling-like effects of multiple detoxifications leads to hyperexcitability in IC neurons, which further predisposes to withdrawal seizures (Duka et al., 2004). Anticonvulsant therapy is usually not required for alcohol withdrawal seizures.

Will Dry January trigger alcohol withdrawal symptoms? – The … – The Washington Post

Will Dry January trigger alcohol withdrawal symptoms? – The ….

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If immediate medical attention is not sought, then it can cause serious consequences. Alcohol withdrawal or delirium tremens causes drastic changes in the body of the patient, such as changes in the temperature, breathing, heart rate, hydration and blood pressure. There can also be disorientation, confusion, loss of consciousness, and in some cases hallucinations from decreased blood flow to the brain. While alcohol withdrawal can cause seizures, they are not guaranteed to happen. https://rehabliving.net/s are more likely to occur in those who have used alcohol heavily over prolonged periods of time. Those who have an underlying health risk for seizures, have a history of diabetes or have experienced alcohol withdrawal seizures before are most at risk.

Can You Die From an Alcohol-Induced Seizure?

Experiencing an alcohol-related seizure indicates that a person is suffering from extreme withdrawal symptoms. If you’re not going to a detox center, you should at least see a healthcare provider and ensure you get lots of fluids, regular meals, and rest. It’s also recommended to take a thiamine supplement as heavy drinking can lead to a deficiency.

alcohol withdrawal seizure

Alcohol’s half-life is around four to five hours, which means your body will process the chemical out of your bloodstream within that time frame. After that, many of alcohol’s effects will have faded or will begin to fade. It won’t be long after alcohol reaches its half-life that you start to experience withdrawal symptoms.


Alcohol withdrawal seizures are similar to tonic-clonic seizures, which are often seen with issues like epilepsy. The first may involve a loss of consciousness with increased muscle rigidity. The second phase involves rapid tightening and relaxing of the muscles, which involve convulsions that can lead to serious injuries. If you’re taking any drug or substance that can cause chemical dependence, quitting cold turkey can be dangerous.

  • The exact mechanisms for this are not known, but this is referred to as the “kindling process” by researchers.
  • In a medical detox, you’re monitored by licensed medical professional around-the-clock so they can help prevent seizures and immediately treat any seizures that develop.
  • There are a variety of factors that can contribute to seizures during alcohol withdrawal.
  • One 18-pack was never enough; he’d insist on stopping somewhere else for a case of insurance.

In line with our goal of producing this evidence summary expeditiously, we did not publish a review protocol or register this review prior to study initiation. The AlcoholicsAnonymous.com helpline is free, private, and confidential. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center.

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures

Heavy alcohol consumption slows the activity of the central nervous system (CNS) by binding to the receptors of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), increasing its relaxing effects. We used the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for randomized trials Version 2 (RoB 2) to assess the risk of bias in the RCTs included in this study [29]. For non-randomized studies, we used the Cochrane risk of bias in non-randomized studies of interventions (ROBINS-I) tool [30].

alcohol withdrawal seizure

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorder, call our helpline today and find the treatment options that are right for you. Inclusion and exclusion criteria, age, sex, ethnicity, alcohol withdrawal severity at presentation, method of determining alcohol withdrawal, comorbidities, number of participants in main analysis, losses to follow-up. In this rapid review, we adapted traditional systematic review eco sober house boston methods to generate evidence within an accelerated time frame [21,22,23]. Rapid reviews are a pragmatic and resource-efficient approach to knowledge synthesis that remains scientific, transparent and reproducible [24]. Although we didn’t find it in the right place or time, we did luck into the right care. Ben stuck out the full 90 days, was transitioned to a sober living house, and he’s doing better now than he has been in years.

Epilepsy And Alcohol Addiction

Someone with epilepsy should not drink alcohol without first discussing the potential risks with a doctor who is familiar with their specific condition. Additionally, if a seizure cannot be stopped or multiple seizures occur in rapid succession, it could result in permanent injury or prove fatal. Before a seizure, people may experience an aura or feel a change in sensation — such as smell, taste, sound, or vision — due to abnormal activity in the brain. Alcohol seizures may share symptoms with seizures that are not linked to alcohol. 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.

alcohol withdrawal seizure

Seizures can also disrupt oxygen supply to the brain, potentially leading to permanent brain damage. We are here to provide assistance in locating an Ark Behavioral Health treatment center that may meet your treatment needs. We do not receive any compensation or commission for referrals to other treatment facilities. If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact at

Can Alcohol Cause Seizures?

Most T-C seizures last between 1-2 minutes, and the longer a seizure persists beyond this point, the less likely it is to stop on its own. Furthermore, the longer a seizure lasts into SE the lower the chances are that it will respond to treatments and medications. When SE does not respond to the normal seizure treatments it is referred to as “Refractory Status Epilepticus” and this occurs in about 30% of all status epilepticus cases.

It could also signal the onset of delirium tremens and should be taken as a warning sign to seek medical help. The DTs are a very serious health emergency that can emerge during alcohol detox rather suddenly. The DTs are most common among those who have been heavy drinkers for a long time. Alcoholic seizures are also an indication that a person in alcohol withdrawal may progress to delirium tremens. For a person who struggles with a severe alcohol use disorder, side effects like delirium tremens, convulsions, delusions, and alcoholic seizures are a real possibility. When you have a seizure due to alcohol, you are more likely to develop DTs.

You may think you know what to expect, but the truth is, there is no clear-cut way of predicting exactly how you will feel and what symptoms you will experience while your body adjusts to not having its usual alcohol supply. The potential for serious side effects due to alcohol withdrawal is the reason that individuals who want to stop drinking are encouraged to attend a medically supervised detox. These programs can monitor and provide treatment to avoid and alleviate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Patients with alcohol withdrawal seizures raise a number of management issues. It is important to recognize that not all seizures in alcohol-dependent patients are the result of withdrawal. In epidemiologic studies, the rate of epilepsy and seizures rises in parallel with the amount of an individual’s alcohol intake. Alcohol-dependent patients are at higher risk for seizures unrelated to withdrawal.

  • GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for slowing down activity in your brain so you can sleep, relax, and release stress.
  • We are committed to not only helping you detox safely but also to helping you maintain long-term sobriety.
  • Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures, as the name suggests, are seizures occurring in a person who has been a chronic alcoholic for many years and is trying to quit drinking or stop drinking alcohol.
  • While there are many different ways seizures can manifest, tonic-clonic seizures are the most common form of seizures and can last up to two minutes.
  • These types of seizures are not only dangerous in and of themselves, but they also warn of greater challenges ahead for anyone who experiences them.

After a long history of heavy alcohol intake, the brain pathways have become altered. When this has taken place, and then you suspend drinking to enter recovery, the body will react. People with AUD are well aware of what withdrawal symptoms feel like but do it anyway.

How Much is Too Much to Drink? – Columbia University Irving Medical Center

How Much is Too Much to Drink?.

Posted: Mon, 26 Jun 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Many individuals experience better recovery outcomes when they continue to “step down” in care after detox. Epilepsy centers provide you with a team of specialists to help you diagnose your epilepsy and explore treatment options. I called a hospital in a different county and asked a nurse if he should be drinking to manage withdrawal. A person with epilepsy should speak with their doctor to determine how much alcohol, if any, is safe to consume with their condition. Alcohol works as a depressant on the central nervous system and alters the function of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. Inhibitory neurotransmitters prevent certain chemical messages from passing on.

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