Alcohol-Related Neurologic Disease: Types, Signs, Treatment

However, they may cause people to fall and sustain potentially serious injuries, such as head injuries. Alcohol seizures may share symptoms with seizures that are not linked to alcohol. This section answers some frequently asked questions about alcohol and seizures.

Alcohol withdrawal and the complications that can come from it can be incredibly dangerous. Approximately five percent of people who suffer from alcohol withdrawal experience seizures. The more you drink, especially in a short period of time, the greater your risk of alcohol poisoning. Tell the person you’ll help them find the right treatment program for alcohol abuse. Together, you can address this issue properly and help the person build a happier and healthier life in recovery. Alcohol binds to the GABA receptors in the brain and alters the release and absorption of neurotransmitters.

This type of symptom can be seen in patients who drink heavily and on a regular basis. After a person suddenly stops drinking after long periods of time, the brain struggles to function due to the chemical imbalance and absence of alcohol. People 50 substance abuse group therapy activities for recovery who habitually abuse alcohol can experience alcohol-related seizures approximately six to 48 hours after their last drink. These seizures may be single or in small clusters and are generally classified as grand mal or tonic-clonic nonfocal.

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. 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. One young male in this subset had EEG abnormalities suggestive of IGE. He had one seizure within 6 h of intake of alcohol and no withdrawal symptoms.

We cannot exclude that subjects might have been more prone to seizure occurrences due to AED non-adherence. Furthermore, we cannot exclude hypoglycemic episodes caused by acute heavy alcohol consumption (26), which may have contributed to the manifestation of epileptic seizures (27). In the study population, generalized genetic epilepsy was an independent predictor for the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures. The mean alcohol intake prior to alcohol-related seizures was not higher in patients with generalized genetic epilepsy than in subjects with focal epilepsy. Lennox stated that alcohol-related seizures had occurred more often in patients with symptomatic than in cryptogenic or idiopathic epilepsies (1). The then applied syndromatic allocation, however, may not be in exact conformance with the present classifications (16, 17).

When alcohol is gone, however, these receptors go from over-stimulated to temporarily under-stimulated as they try to adjust to normal. While under-stimulated, they create a reverse effect, making seizures more likely to occur until they readjust to the absence of alcohol, leading to alcohol withdrawal seizures. Drinking impacts GABA receptors, which have a relaxing influence on the brain.

  1. If you think that someone has alcohol poisoning, seek medical care right away.
  2. By Rachael Zimlich, BSN, RNZimlich is a critical care nurse who has been writing about health care and clinical developments for over 10 years.
  3. Alcohol can also trigger seizures if you have epilepsy and often interacts poorly with anti-seizure medications.
  4. A seizure is electrical activity between neurons that becomes uncontrolled and unstable.
  5. Often, the person will have no bodily control during the seizure and will not remember it, being very groggy as they slowly wake up afterward.

If a person is going to experience seizures during withdrawal from alcohol, they will most likely occur between hours after the last drink. There are treatments for delirium tremens, but it’s best to start the withdrawal process in the presence of trusted and will-informed healthcare practitioners. Many people with epilepsy have heard that alcohol consumption can change the blood levels of their AEDs. More recent research shows that having one to two drinks a day does not seem to affect these levels in most medications. However, some medications are more likely than others to metabolize differently when alcohol is used. It is important to discuss your individual risk for drinking with your health care team.

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In severe cases, seizures can last more than five minutes or reoccur repeatedly; this is a dangerous condition called status epilepticus. Status epilepticus is a medical emergency and can lead to lasting, irreversible brain damage. Drinking too much alcohol at once can increase your risk of seizures, especially if you binge drink or have a history of seizure problems. Alcohol use changes brain signals and can cause dehydration and changes in the normal concentrations of chemicals in your bloodstream.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption (Alcohol Poisoning)

A focal seizure, sometimes referred to as a partial seizure, occurs in just one area of the brain. Common causes are localized scar tissue (sometimes caused by meningitis or a stroke), low blood sugar, brain tumors, epilepsy, and alcohol withdrawal. For a person who struggles with a severe alcohol use xanax side effects disorder, side effects like delirium tremens, convulsions, delusions, and alcoholic seizures are a real possibility. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome occurs when someone who has been drinking excessive amounts of alcohol for an extended period of time suddenly stops drinking or reduces their intake.

Symptoms of an Alcohol Seizure

For abusers, the cessation of drinking can significantly increase the seizure threshold. There is no definitive cutoff for what amount of alcohol you have to drink to experience withdrawal symptoms that increase the risk of seizures. As a general rule, the longer you have been drinking over time and the more you drink, the higher your risk for developing withdrawal symptoms, which may include seizures. People who drink large amounts of alcohol and suddenly stop are at a higher-than-usual risk of seizures.

All patients who had a proximate well-known provoking cause of seizure (e.g., subdural hematoma, dyselectrolytemia and hypoglycemia) other than alcoholism were excluded from the study. Though smokers were included patients with other substance abuse were excluded. CT evidence of cortical atrophy is related to the duration of alcohol intake and portends an increased risk for clustering.

Those who are exposed to it during pregnancy can go on to suffer from a wide range of difficulties from physical to mental and emotional. Amongst these lifelong implications is an increased risk of alcohol-induced seizures. Another way that ethanol use can lead to seizures is through the eventual effects of a person suffering from FASD.

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