Author: Gary Jackson

What is Alcohol Withdrawal

The prodrome stage can last for 10 minutes and involves some of the first signs that a seizure may be about to happen. Symptoms that you may experience in this stage include confusion, anxiety, irritability, and headache. Some people describe a general “funny feeling” that happens in this phase. When GABA comes to bind to the nerve cell, it opens up a channel to a negative charge that slows down brain activity. Alcohol and other central nervous system depressants keep that channel open, causing more intense sedating effects.

alcohol withdrawal seizure

People with epilepsy should consult their doctor before using alcohol, as alcohol can affect epilepsy medications. Alcohol use can also trigger seizures in people with epilepsy if withdrawal symptoms begin to occur. Epilepsy can cause seizures to occur with more mild levels of alcohol withdrawal than would occur in most people. As a response to chronic alcohol misuse or abuse, your body will adapt by tilting your chemical balance toward more excitatory chemicals. Unconscious functions that your nervous system controls will also be affected. That’s why alcohol withdrawal can also cause increased body temperature, fast heart rate, and hypertension.

What does an alcohol withdrawal seizure feel like?

Each of these symptoms can increase in intensity depending on the severity of the withdrawal. Addiction can make it even harder to stop using alcohol, and it often involves or leads to chemical dependence. Alcohol works in the brain by influencing a chemical called GABA, or gamma-Aminobutyric acid. GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for slowing down activity in your brain so you can sleep, relax, and release stress. When you need to recover and relax, your body will go into a rest-and-digest state.

  • The prognosis (outlook) for someone with alcohol withdrawal depends greatly on its severity.
  • Some people experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms, like insomnia and mood changes, that can last for weeks or months.
  • This can happen after someone who has misused alcohol for a long time stops consuming it.

While the reason for this is not fully understood, alcohol does create changes in receptors in your brain that affect your likelihood of having a seizure. While epilepsy can develop on its own in people who do not use alcohol, long-term alcohol use will increase the risk of epilepsy developing in some people. In people with epilepsy, drinking three or more drinks may increase the risk of seizures. In some cases, excessive alcohol consumption may lead people to miss meals or medication, which can also make seizures more likely in people with epilepsy.