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Alcohol-Induced Seizures: Symptoms & Treatment

Ketamine Withdrawal

The impact of alcohol on the brain triggers both short-term and long-term effects. Individuals who consume alcohol frequently often question whether it can lead to an alcohol-induced seizure and what the associated risks entail. While seizures in alcoholics may occur, a seizure from alcohol is much more likely to occur during the withdrawal phase of recovery. Read on to learn more about alcohol and seizures and find out how to engage with evidence-based treatment for alcohol abuse.

What Are Alcohol-Induced Seizures?

Alcohol itself does not typically cause seizures, as the substance acts by suppressing brain activity. During withdrawal, though, when the suppressive effects of alcohol are removed, the brain becomes more susceptible to seizures.

Binge drinking, even in individuals not previously diagnosed with epilepsy, can lead to seizures during withdrawal. Long-term alcohol use also increases the risk of developing epilepsy, a condition where individuals are prone to seizures. People with epilepsy should consult their doctor before using alcohol, as it can affect epilepsy medications and trigger seizures during withdrawal. Epilepsy can lower the threshold for alcohol seizures even with milder levels of withdrawal.

Alcohol withdrawal can trigger alcoholic seizures, especially for those with a history of chronic alcohol abuse. Withdrawal seizures can manifest within a few hours to 72 hours after discontinuing alcohol use. Medically-supervised detox programs are crucial for those dependent on alcohol, helping mitigate the risks associated with withdrawal.

Alcohol-Induced Seizures Symptoms

Seizures from alcohol vary from person to person, and their onset can sometimes be predicted by a phenomenon known as an aura. Auras, unique to each individual, may involve visual disturbances, smells, tastes, or strong emotional feelings, occurring just before a seizure. For those with a history of seizures, auras serve as warning signs.

Among the various types of seizures, tonic-clonic seizures are the most common, lasting up to two minutes. During these seizures, previously known as grand mal seizures, the person’s entire body becomes rigid, leading to a fall if standing upright, with every muscle tensing. Subsequently, uncontrollable convulsions follow. Often, individuals experiencing such seizures have no bodily control and do not recall the episode, waking up gradually afterward in a groggy state.

image of man representing alcohol induced seizure symptoms

Alcohol-Induced Seizures Treatment

Treatment for alcohol-induced seizures typically involves addressing both the immediate seizure episode and the underlying alcohol-related issues. Here are the key components of treatment:

  • Medical intervention: Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial during a seizure from drinking. Medical professionals can provide necessary care to ensure the person’s safety and may administer medications to control seizures.
  • Detoxification programs: For those with a history of heavy alcohol use, participation in medically supervised detoxification programs is essential. These programs help manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, in a controlled and supportive environment.
  • Anti-seizure medications: In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe anti-seizure medications to prevent or reduce the occurrence of seizures. These medications are tailored to the person’s specific needs and medical history.
  • Long-term alcohol treatment: Addressing the root cause of alcohol-induced seizures involves evidence-based treatment for alcohol use disorder. This may include participation in rehabilitation programs, counseling, and support groups to promote sustained recovery.
  • Monitoring and follow-up: Regular monitoring by healthcare professionals helps assess the effectiveness of the treatment plan and make necessary adjustments. Follow-up care may include ongoing medical supervision, therapy, and support to prevent relapse.

Individuals experiencing alcohol-induced seizures should collaborate with healthcare providers to develop a comprehensive and personalized treatment approach that addresses both the acute symptoms and the broader context of alcohol misuse.


Can alcohol cause seizures?

Yes, alcohol can cause seizures, particularly in individuals with a history of alcohol abuse or withdrawal. Seizures may result from sudden alcohol cessation or excessive drinking leading to a condition known as alcohol withdrawal seizures.

What does an alcoholic seizure look like?

An alcoholic seizure often manifests as a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, involving muscle stiffness, convulsions, and loss of consciousness. It is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate attention, and individuals experiencing such seizures should seek medical help promptly.

What is alcohol-induced epilepsy?

Alcohol-induced epilepsy refers to a condition where recurrent seizures are triggered by chronic alcohol abuse. Prolonged and heavy alcohol consumption can disrupt normal brain function, leading to an increased risk of developing epilepsy or experiencing seizures. Seeking medical guidance is crucial for proper diagnosis and management of alcohol-induced epilepsy.

a man celebrating which represents learning about alcohol induced seizure treatment

Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at Drug Rehabs Centers

If you or someone that you care about is addicted to alcohol, recognizing problematic patterns of consumption is the first step toward initiating recovery. When you are committed to making changes, it can be challenging to find the right treatment. We can help you overcome this barrier at Drug Rehabs Centers in Southern California.

We can connect you with medical detoxification facilities near you. Access medications and continuous care to streamlines alcohol withdrawal and address issues of physical dependence on alcohol before transitioning into ongoing inpatient or outpatient rehab. We can also help you find treatment centers in your locality so you can move from active alcohol addiction to ongoing sobriety.

Call (844) 739-2005 today and begin your recovery from alcoholism in Southern California.

Juan Bonnet
Author: Juan Bonnet


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