Can alcohol consumption lead to seizures?


Quick Answer

Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to seizures, according to WebMD. However, individuals are much more likely to develop seizures if they are in the state of alcohol withdrawal, as detailed by the Epilepsy Foundation.

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Full Answer

In small amounts, alcohol consumption does not lead to more seizures, nor does it change the amount of medicine in a person's blood or the findings on the results of EEG studies, as the Epilepsy Foundation explains. However, as of 2015, research suggests that heavy alcohol consumption keeps a person's brain cells in a very excitable state. This makes people who vulnerable to seizures or who have had seizures in the past develop a greater risk of triggering seizures during periods of heavy alcohol use.

Certain seizure medicines can also lower alcohol tolerance, which causes users to become intoxicated faster, as explained by the Epilepsy Foundation. The side effects of rapid intoxication and seizure medicines are similar, which could worsen the problem of seizures for people sensitive to either the medicine or to alcohol.

The best way for a person to avoid seizures when drinking is not to abuse alcohol, as the Epilepsy Foundation recommends. As a general guideline, average people should limit themselves to three or fewer drinks per day to prevent the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal that can lead to seizures.

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