Alcohol as a Seizure Trigger

Having a bottle of beer or a glass of wine on occasion isn’t likely to cause any problems, and it’s almost certain that it won’t lead to a seizure. That said, as we’ve seen before, some people don’t have the switch in their brain that lets them drink in moderation. They know more about the medications than the doctors do.” Ultimately, it’s important that you understand the side effects of your medications, as well as how they interact with alcohol, if you choose to drink. A report from 2021 also found that alcohol-related deaths were five times more likely in people with epilepsy than those without the condition.

alcohol and epilepsy

Even those who drink heavily for a short period are not shown to be at a higher risk for epilepsy. However,excessive alcohol useandalcohol addictionmay lead to the development of epilepsy if a person struggles with recurring seizures from their alcohol use. Over time,alcohol harms the brain, increasing the brain’s reactivity and volatility.

Human and animal data have shown that acute alcohol intake has a biphasic effect on the central nervous system . Initially, the inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid -ergic effect of alcohol exerts CNS depressant and anticonvulsant properties . 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 . Usually, people with epilepsy can safely drink one to two drinks per day without making their seizures worse or altering the amount of seizure medication in the bloodstream. Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption is never recommended for people with epilepsy.

Drinking Alcohol & Epilepsy

Continuous data are presented as mean ± standard deviation or median where appropriate. Amounts of different alcoholic beverages that correspond to 1 standard drink as defined by the World Health Organization. This illustration has been shown to the participants of this study to guide them in estimating their individual average alcohol intake per drinking occasion. Alcohol consumption usually represents a taboo in the doctor-patient relationship and questions on the smoking status are answered more easily.

alcohol and epilepsy

Electroencephalogram tests show brain activity remains the same, as long as the amount of alcohol ingested is small. 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. Most of these medications lower your alcohol tolerance, causing you to become intoxicated or feel the effects of alcohol more quickly or severely. Combining moderate amounts of alcohol and epilepsy medication can be done safely, but there are risks.

In multivariate analysis, alcohol consumption within the last 12 months was independently related to AED monotherapy. It is highly likely that subjects with well-controlled epilepsies on monotherapy are more likely to consume alcoholic beverages than those with difficult-to-treat variants. Physicians’ advice that “a light alcohol intake is harmless” was identified as an additional predictor for alcohol use. Patients with epilepsy may feel unsure about alcohol consumption on chronic medication and therefore may be willing to follow physicians’ advices more often. But if you have epilepsy and already consume alcohol, drinking a little, such as one or two small non-high alcohol content drinks a day, is not likely to increase your chance of having seizures.

What Is the Impact of Binge Drinking in Patients With Epilepsy?

Only subjects ≥18 years who had suffered from epilepsy for at least 1 year were included. Epilepsy types and seizures were classified according to the International League Against Epilepsy . A single unprovoked seizure was defined as epilepsy if specific EEG alterations or causal brain lesions identified by magnetic resonance imaging indicated an increased and enduring risk for further epileptic seizures . Alcohol withdrawal seizures are more common in those who have been binge drinking or are trying to stop using alcohol after a prolonged period of alcohol use. Those who overdose on alcohol may also experiencealcohol poisoning seizuresas the toxins from alcohol build up in their bloodstream. Heavy alcohol use can lead to seizures, especially when you stop drinking and start to enter a period of withdrawal.

When these endorphins are released, the person drinking alcohol is rewarded with pleasure, happiness, or some other reward. This process makes the brain and body want more of the alcohol, and the eco sober house boston person will continually seek it out. Alcohol caninterfere with the way that your body uses epilepsy medication, making these medicines less effective and raising the risk of a seizure occurring.

  • The answer to whether alcohol can trigger seizures is more complex than you might think.
  • When it comes to alcohol addiction, many people have simply lost control.
  • Using data from a randomized trial, we evaluated the cost of HCV care facilitation that supports moving along the continuum of care for HIV/HCV co-infected individuals with substance use disorder.
  • Flashing lights, lack of sleep, missed medications, and even diet changes have the potential to cause seizures in some people.
  • People without epilepsy who struggle with severe alcohol use disorder may experience non-epileptic seizures during withdrawal.

The higher the dose of alcohol consumed and the longer the duration of its consumption, the higher the association with the onset of seizures. There is no single answer for all epilepsy patients, as everyone is different, with varied needs and unique experiences. People who have epilepsy often wonder if it is safe to drinkalcoholwhen you have epilepsy. There are several different factors that can increase your risk of having seizures when you have epilepsy.

Alcohol and Seizure Risks

This heightened electrical activity results from the continuous and rapid firing of neurons. Alcohol abuse is the biggest risk factor causing road collisions and injuries, according to the Canadian Medical Association . Based on surveys of volume and frequency of consumption, approximately 10 to 20 per cent of the adult population “drink heavily.” Approximately 10 per cent of this population will have seizures. Another 4.5 per cent of this population will be diagnosed with epilepsy by the age of 80. This means that some people who do not actually have epilepsy may also experience seizures when drinking.

Licensed staff experienced in addictions and co-occurring conditions can assist you. Call The Recovery Village today to learn more aboutalcohol rehabtreatment options. Moderate to heavy alcohol use is never recommended for people with epilepsy. Alcohol usually does not trigger seizures while the person is drinking. Going through withdrawal without knowledgeable medical help can mean the difference between life and death for an addict. It’s vital to sober up, detox, and get healthy in the presence of knowledgeable healthcare professionals.

alcohol and epilepsy

It’s also important to understand that quitting alcohol after a period of alcohol abuse or misuse may be harder for people diagnosed with epilepsy than it is for those without it. People with epilepsy may have a higher risk of withdrawal seizures than others. Many people diagnosed with epilepsy have been told that alcohol and epilepsy should never mix because alcohol can trigger seizures. Many doctors and pharmacists recommend total abstinence from drinking, if possible. Some common epileptic triggers are physical or emotional stress, eating certain foods, flashing lights, and even lack of sleep.

What is the risk of mixing epilepsy and alcohol?

In another interventional study on 14 patients with epilepsy and 10 healthy controls, acute moderate alcohol consumption initially suppressed epileptiform EEG-activity. Later however, when alcohol blood levels had declined, epileptiform EEG-activity was increased. Seizures occurred in some of those subjects and a rebound phenomenon was discussed . In addition to that, alcohol intake significantly suppresses REM sleep periods . Reduced sleep quality and consecutive sleep deprivation have long been discussed to facilitate the occurrence of seizures in patients with epilepsy , and especially in those with generalized genetic epilepsy (32–34). Altered sleep architecture due to acute alcohol consumption constitutes a non-negligible and important co-factor for seizure risk in patients with epilepsy.

Contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield to learn how we can help get you on the path to recovery. A person should always remain on their anti-epileptic medication, even if they have plans to consume alcohol. However, before planning to drink, a person should talk with a doctor to understand whether it’s safe to consume alcohol while taking specific anti-epileptic drugs.

The study population consisted of 310 patients with epilepsy (Table ​ . So, if you choose to drink, it may be a good idea to follow the CDC guidelines² for alcohol consumption. These guidelines suggest men should not exceed two drinks a day, while women should consume a maximum of one alcoholic drink per day. It is generally safe for people with epilepsy to drink a small amount of alcohol up to a certain level. If you or someone that you know is struggling with alcohol dependence, The Recovery Village can help.

Alcohol and Epilepsy Drugs

We’re here 24/7 to help you get the care you need to live the life you want. Talk to our recovery specialists today and start treatment immediately. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, please reach out for help before it becomes a bigger problem. Here at Landmark Recovery, we aim to help as many people as possible overcome addiction and go on to enjoy fulfilling lives. There are two different categories of seizures, and within the categories nestle several subcategories. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in the world.

Studies show that persons who regularly consume large amounts of alcohol can increase their risk of seizures by abruptly reducing or discontinuing consumption . This drastic change in habit also increases the risk of developing epilepsy three-fold. Many people with epilepsy are at a high risk of seizures after drinking three or more alcoholic beverages. When alcohol is stopped suddenly or is reduced by large amounts over a short period of time, a seizure may occur.