Alcohol and Seizures
For most people with epilepsy, small amounts of alcohol do not cause seizures. However, exceptions can include people with a history of alcohol or substance abuse or those with a history of alcohol-related seizures.1
Seizure medicines can lower a person’s tolerance for alcohol, increasing the immediate effects of the alcohol. In other words, people get drunk faster.
For people with epilepsy who drink alcohol, driving can be especially dangerous because both alcohol and seizure medicines can affect a person’s awareness, reflexes, coordination, and ability to drive safely.
All people with epilepsy are at a high risk of seizures after drinking three or more alcoholic beverages. Survey results show that 2 out of 5 people with epilepsy avoid alcohol.
Help for Managing Alcohol and Epilepsy
Learn more about the risks of alcohol for triggering seizures, including finding tips for managing risk, such as avoiding binge drinking (i.e., drinking too much at once or over long periods of time). Alcohol-related seizures do not usually occur when a person is intoxicated. Usually they occur afterwards, when the alcohol is leaving the body, or the following morning.
1. Gordon E, Devinsky O. Alcohol and marijuana: effects on epilepsy and use by patient with epilepsy. Epilepsia 2001 Oct:42(10):1266-72↩