Those who suffer from seizures are often told that they should abstain from drinking alcohol, as it can have some serious detrimental effects on them.
While this doesn’t mean that the patient can never have any alcohol, they should always drink in moderation and limit amounts to reduce the risk. Having a drink occasionally will not increase the chance of having a tonic clonic seizure according to research. Binge drinking can increase the risk of seizures, though.
How Does Alcohol Affect Tonic Clonic Seizures?
When someone drinks, it is not the drinking that causes the seizure. Instead, it is the withdrawal from alcohol that increases the risk. If you have three or more alcoholic drinks, it can increase the chance of having a seizure. Studies have shown that those who are alcoholics and those who chronically abuse alcohol with binge drinking may actually develop epilepsy. Alcohol poisoning can be a cause of seizures. The withdrawal seizures can change the brain and make it more excitable, which can increase the risk of seizures, even when they are not drinking.
Something that is important to note is that taking seizure medications can actually lower the person’s tolerance for alcohol. This can make a person feel drunk faster, which is dangerous. If a patient is already sensitive to the medications, then drinking any alcohol at all could be a bad idea, as it could increase the instances of alcoholic seizures.
What Are the Symptoms of a Tonic Clonic Seizure?
The symptoms for these types of seizures can vary. The patient may experience all, or only a portion, of the following symptoms. They may have a strange sensation in part of their body, called an aura. This could be anything from a tingling sensation to seeing lights. The patient may scream, and they could lose control of their bladder and/or bowels during the seizure, or right after. Some patients will pass out and feel confused when they wake up, often not realizing that they just had a seizure. Many patients will also have a headache following the seizure. During the seizure, their body will become rigid and they will fall. They will also have the characteristic shake of a seizure.
Managing Alcohol and Seizures
Always talk with your doctor about alcohol and how it could affect you as an epileptic before you drink. One of the simple tips that you can use when trying to manage alcohol and the risk of a tonic seizure is to avoid binge drinking. When you drink too much at once, or when you drink a lot over a long period, it can be dangerous. Those who feel that they may have a problem with alcohol should get help so that it doesn’t affect their epilepsy. Simply by drinking in moderation and talking with the doctor, patients can avoid many of the potential problems that arise with alcohol and seizures.
To reduce the risks, patients need to take care of themselves and they need to take medications as prescribed by their doctors. If they are told they shouldn’t drink, it is best to avoid alcohol.