Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Seizures in Patients With Epilepsy PMC

Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Seizures in Patients With Epilepsy PMC

The syndrome encompasses focal NCSE in alcoholic individuals who manifest transient neurologic deficits, interictal LPDs on the EEG, and transient cortical–subcortical T2-hyperintense areas with restricted diffusion and multifocal chronic cerebrovascular abnormalities. An alcohol assessment will help determine if a person experiencing alcohol-related seizures need treatment for a possible alcohol use disorder. The assessment process involves meeting with a licensed alcohol use disorder therapist at a treatment facility or detox center. It is a safe, confidential place where you can be honest about alcohol misuse. Together, you can create a treatment plan based on your physical, emotional, and medical needs.

Risk of bias assessments were performed by one trained reviewer (JK) and verified by the principal investigator (JM). We performed the grey literature search using the search engine Google using combinations of terms [“emergency department”, “emergency room”, “emergency” or “accident and emergency”] and [“alcohol withdrawal”] and [“treatment” or “intervention” or “management”]. The first 50 search results were opened and reviewed for relevant materials. We also hand-searched the most recent conference abstracts (2015 to 2020) of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, and American College of Emergency Physicians. Topiramate and zonisamide are anticonvulsants approved for the treatment of seizure disorders and migraines and for the adjunctive treatment of partial seizures, respectively.

5 Topiramate and Zonisamide

While benzodiazepines have long been the mainstay of AWS treatment, novel approaches have garnered increasing evidence and acceptance. In their role as gatekeepers to systems of care, ED clinicians should also be familiar with levels of care and behavioral interventions available to patients with AUD. This same study found that more than 81 percent of those who have alcoholic seizures were experiencing depression. Individuals who are struggling with comorbid, or co-occurring, mental health and addiction issues benefit greatly from an inpatient or residential substance abuse treatment program. Research has shown that after having alcoholic seizures due to alcohol withdrawal and binge drinking, the brain becomes more reactive. This increase in reactivity increases the potential for repeated, or epileptic, seizures even without the presence of alcohol use.

alcoholic seizures treatment

Additionally, positive findings from studies with medications such as topiramate and zonisamide showing substantially reduced drinking even in actively heavy drinking subjects that don’t want to be totally abstinent, is also promising. Lamotrigine has demonstrated preliminary efficacy in the treatment of co-occurring psychiatric disorders with alcohol dependence. First, in three patients with co-morbid treatment-resistant schizophrenia and alcohol dependence, open-label lamotrigine augmentation decreased alcohol consumption and craving when added on to clozapine [70]. In another co-morbidity study, add-on open-label lamotrigine (up to 300 mg/day) was administered to 28 bipolar I/II disorder and alcohol-dependent patients for 12 weeks and improved both mood and alcohol-related measures [including craving and carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT)].


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. According to a research study, 46 percent of those who had an alcohol-related seizure did not have another condition that could lead to a seizure. Alcohol withdrawal appeared to be the only cause of seizures in nearly half the subjects. If a seizure lasts close to five minutes or more, it becomes a medical emergency.

The clinical term for this type of seizure is called a tonic-clonic seizure. When people stop consuming alcohol after chronic use, they lose the inhibitory effects of the GABA receptors, resulting in the central nervous system being overstimulated. Someone with epilepsy should not drink alcohol without first discussing the potential risks with a doctor who is familiar with their specific condition. Recently, Fernández-Torre et al16 have described both focal hyperperfusion (SPECT) and hypermetabolism (positron emission tomography [PET]), which were strongly suggestive of an epileptic event in the clinical context. The author concluded that cerebral SPECT and PET closely correlated with EEG can play an important role in the optimization of ASD therapy and diagnosis of SESA syndrome. BFirst paper demonstrating the existence of complex partial seizures in SESA syndrome.

Alcohol-Induced Seizures: Why Does Alcohol Cause Seizures

Patients with epilepsy may feel unsure about alcohol consumption on chronic medication and therefore may be willing to follow physicians’ advices more often. In the results section of logistic regression analyses, findings were only noted if 95% CIs of the confounding why does alcohol withdrawal cause seizures variable did not include 1; if the 95% CI included 1, the corresponding variable was not significant and therefore was not pointed out. Patients in alcohol withdrawal should preferably be treated in a quiet room with low lighting and minimal stimulation.

  • In another interventional study on 14 patients with epilepsy and 10 healthy controls, acute moderate alcohol consumption initially suppressed epileptiform EEG-activity.
  • Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is a common, heterogenous, and life-threatening complication of alcohol use disorder (AUD).
  • The first 50 search results were opened and reviewed for relevant materials.
  • When a person is detoxing from alcohol, seeking help from medical professionals or a detox facility can save their life.
  • It is a common misconception among regular drinkers that stopping alcohol causes more problems than continuing it.

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