Alcohol is something that’s often misunderstood by the general public. Just because drinking is commonplace in society doesn’t mean that it’s free from serious health complications.
We’re not just talking about alcoholism, either. Today, we will be discussing alcohol and seizures. There’s a strong connection between alcoholism and seizures, although most people don’t have to worry about them.
That said, we’ll look at the factors that go into a moment where epilepsy and alcohol can cross paths. Hopefully, the information below will help you to appreciate the risks that come with heavy drinking.
Let’s get started.
The first thing we should note is that there is a healthy range of drinking that anyone can participate in.
If you’re not prone to addiction and are consuming alcohol in moderation, you probably don’t have to worry about seizures. A glass or two of alcohol each night might indicate some leaning toward addiction, but it’s not something that will put your health in jeopardy for a long time.
Seizures are more related to alcohol withdrawal or periods of binge drinking. The effects come from the impact that alcohol can have on your central nervous system once there’s enough of it in your blood to start shutting down various functions.
A lot of the effects on your central nervous system that alcohol produces are ones that we’re all familiar with. For example, when someone gets a little dizzy or starts walking in an unusual pattern. This happens when your CNS can’t balance you properly and you’re faced with a challenging walk.
How does that work, though?
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means that it slows down the system’s ability to function at a normal rate. “Depressant” just indicates that the system is inhibited from functioning at its normal speed.
On a small level, this means that the neurons in charge of monitoring our bodily functions aren’t firing together as quickly. Their communication is slowed, leading to the disorganization of what we’re used to experiencing.
The central nervous system is the foundation for other systems in the body as well. For example, the peripheral nervous system is closely connected to the central nervous system, so the downfall of one leads to the collapse of the other.
When your blood alcohol level reaches a certain point, you’ll start experiencing this change in various ways. Your speech slurs, your eyesight gets blurry, you can respond physically, you start to forget, and your decision-making is hampered.
Withdrawals occur when you go through a period of drinking then stop without weening.
If you drink every day, you will adjust the number of chemicals and hormones that you produce. The body does this as a way to keep your internal environment in balance. That’s why tolerance develops. It’s also why the effects of alcohol start to become more tolerable over time, whether you’re drunk or dealing with a hangover. In most cases, especially with a depressant such as alcohol, you produce more chemicals to compensate for the abuse.
When you stop drinking, your body is flooded with more neurochemicals than it needs, and you experience the effect of those uninhibited substances. The results tend to be ones that you would be experiencing if you were overstimulated.
Those effects are complemented by the fact that you are working through and eliminating a large number of toxins.
You could experience anxiety, nausea, cold sweats, vomiting, and more. The more serious effects are heart attack, stroke, or seizures. These effects can lead to death.
Note that seizures while you are drunk, are rare. You might be at a higher risk for alcoholic seizures if you’re diagnosed with epilepsy or are prone to seizures anyway.
For someone without those conditions, the risk of seizure comes when you approach a very high blood alcohol level. Your blood alcohol content compounds upon itself if you drink over short periods of time.
We’re taught that one drink per hour leads to a small increase in BAC. That’s true if you just have one drink during that hour. It’s also thought that our bodies work through drink each hour, which is also true if you are just having one drink.
When you binge drink or drink heavily over a short amount of time, you don’t have time to work through the alcohol you’re putting into it. So, if you have five or six drinks in the period of one hour, you might be in a position where you’re at risk for a seizure or death.
When you reach a BAC of .30 or higher, your central nervous system isn’t in a position to take care of you. These are the times when you might experience a seizure or other dangerous side effects.
So, while you’re not likely to experience a seizure while you’re drinking, it’s possible if you drink too much.
Again, this one depends on the level of alcohol you’ve been taking.
It also depends on how well-prepared you are for your detox. If you’re drinking a lot and plan to quit, it’s smart to get in touch with a detox or rehabilitation centre.
Rehabilitation isn’t just for people who are battling addiction. It’s for anyone experiencing a substance abuse issue and is ready to make a life change. There are different levels of treatment for every individual, and plans can be made for you.
That said, know that it’s much safer to go through withdrawals under the supervision of professionals. These are people who can monitor your symptoms and intervene with medication if you ever start to reach the point of having a seizure.
Alcohol withdrawals aren’t something that you can just “push through.” Culture would have us believe that toughing things out is the virtuous and strongest way to go about things. In reality, the smart thing to do is use the tools at your disposal and manage yourself in a safe way.
People die from alcohol withdrawals. If you’ve been drinking too much for a long time, your system is operating in a way far different from the way it otherwise would. You’ll experience intense withdrawal symptoms as you work through the toxins and adjust to the new reality.
Those symptoms of alcohol seizures could be too much for you to handle. So, even if you have the mental fortitude to push through an experience, that could kill you. When a seizure comes about, you will need professionals there to help you through. No matter who you are, a seizure renders you helpless for a period of time.
A seizure during alcohol withdrawal is not uncommon. In very serious cases, you should have professionals around you throughout the entire withdrawal process.
There are medications dedicated to helping individuals cope with the symptoms of withdrawal and address possible seizures when they come about. You aren’t guaranteed a seizure if you’re expecting alcohol withdrawal, but it’s not out of the question and could be deadly if you’re not with anyone.
You risk hitting your head or wounding yourself as you have alcohol-induced seizures. How this affects you in combination with other symptoms of withdrawal might be too much for your system to take as well.
The realities of drug addiction can be scary when they’re put into perspective. Using drugs and alcohol can put your quality of life, mental health, relationships, and physical safety in grave danger.
When you start getting past the point that you’re comfortable with, it can be hard to decide to change. Many people wait until they reach rock bottom to start changing anything.
You don’t have to wait that long, though. If you find the motivation to quit, ride that inspiration toward a better life. There are treatment centres and rehabilitation facilities that can help you get on your feet and start working toward the life you want to live.
No matter how desperate your situation is, there’s hope for recovery. In fact, there’s a good chance that you can recover if you get in touch with the right facility to deal with your situation.
The reality is that no matter where you’re at now, addiction has a way of digging a pit that’s very hard to escape. The end of that pit holds seizures, painful withdrawals, death, or irreparable damage to your health and mind.
Those are things that can be avoided if you find the right recovery options.
Alcohol and seizures can go together, and it’s important that you’re prepared for that reality if you’re planning to quit. There are a lot of options for you to work with if you’re looking for recovery, though.
We’re here to help.
Recovery is possible; you just need to take the first step. Contact us to set up an appointment or learn more about various aspects of recovery.