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live_rose's avatar

Can you drink if you have epilepsy?

Asked by live_rose (1223 points ) April 14th, 2009

Im 19 and have epilepsy i technically dont have to worry about this problem till Im 21 but the issue has already arisen. With epilepsy alcohol can effect the likelyhood of having a seizure. i drank at a new years party and had a seizure though Im not sure if that was the alcohol or the lack of sleep . . .lack of meds and the fact that I was menstruating. So Im just wondering if anyone else knows if an epileptic can safely drink alcohol?

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12 Answers

RandomMrdan's avatar

I have a friend who is epileptic, he drinks often. I’m not a doctor, but I suppose it would depend on each individual a bit different. I would consult with a real doctor, but I think so long as you’re on your meds, you should be fine.

Darwin's avatar

I have known epileptics who drink. They don’t seem to have seizures as a result of drinking. However, they don’t seem to drink a lot – perhaps one or two beers or a glass of wine. Certainly your liver and your doctor would appreciate it if you didn’t drink to excess.

Here is what epilepsy.com says about it:

“In small amounts, alcohol does not cause seizures. A drink or two now and then does not increase seizure activity. Nor does it alter the amounts of seizure medicines in your blood or change findings on EEG studies. When alcohol is related to seizures, it has been found that it is nearly always the state of alcohol withdrawal that aggravates seizures, rather than drinking itself. Your risk of seizures may be much higher after consuming three or more alcoholic beverages. These alcohol withdrawal seizures may begin between 6 and 72 hours after you stop drinking. Studies suggest that alcohol withdrawal seizures most often occur 7 or 8 hours after heavy or prolonged drinking has stopped.

Seizure medicines can seriously lower your tolerance for alcohol, so the immediate effects of alcohol consumption are greater. The rate of intoxication is far higher among people taking seizure medicines. Rapid intoxication is extremely problematic because many of the side effects of these medicines, which can be made worse by alcohol, are similar to the acute effects of alcohol itself. If you are sensitive to the adverse effects of alcohol or seizure medicines, you may find the combination especially troublesome. For example, the side effects of Tegretol (carbamazepine), including dizziness, drowsiness, and headache, could be enhanced by alcohol. Combining those effects with the adverse effects of alcohol, including slurred speech, unsteadiness, dizziness, and fatigue, can be extremely dangerous.”

There is more information there so you might want to go read the whole thing.

Mr_M's avatar

You get seizures? Don’t fool around – ask your Doctor.

The first thing I would look at (and not the ONLY thing) is whether or not you can take the meds you are on for the seizures AND mix them with alcohol.

DragonFace's avatar

I bet the strobe lights at the new years party didnt help HA

live_rose's avatar

@DragonFace i tend to steer clear of strobe lights but yeah that would’ve sucked :P

Darwin's avatar

@live_rose – you also mention “lack of meds” as a possible cause of your seizure. I would suspect that would have been the primary cause of your seizure at New Years. As an epileptic, what are you doing not taking your meds?!

Your doctor should spank you.

live_rose's avatar

@Darwin It’s not the highlight of my day sometimes i forget shrugs sorry

galileogirl's avatar

It may depend on your meds. You can take them and drink and have a dangerous interaction or you can skip them and drink and have a seizure.

Better yet, consider why this is a problem. You know a lot of people choose not to drink at all even without your medical history. Why is it something you want to risk? If you understand why drinking is an “issue”, maybe you will make a better decision.

alym's avatar

i am 17 and well i will admit i party quite a bit and drink alot while i do it. i usually drink alot and have neevr really nodiced anything after drinking accept an odd twitchy feeling when i wake up which could be do to lack of sleep also. i cant really tell you its okay to drink because i am not to sure of your history or the medication you are on. but if you want to drink alot just make sure the next morning when you wake up the the people you are around are aware of your epilepsy just in case and so they know what is going on i usually. and when you wake up in the morning try and eat and take it easy that helps me alot.

killer4790's avatar

Hey, DragonFace not everyone has photo sensitive seizures, flashing lights from that or video games don’t trigger mine, so stop laughing b4 almighty strikes you with epilepsy. HA!!

keith99's avatar

i’m 38 and have epilepsy thro i my self have not had any seizures sine i was maybe 8 years old but i have been off meds since i was 10. any doctor will tell you you shouldnt drink if you have seizures even now i’m 38 and dont drink a lot if i do drink its
pina and i dont have any seizures from it but i wouldnt even drink any way haveing a beer can and might have cosed you to have seizurer but your also under age if i was your parent i punish you for it

Dulse23's avatar

It all depends on the person. I’m an epileptic and strangely I get seizures when I drink whiskey, rum or wine. I don’t get anything if I drink beer. I would say everyone’s body reacts differently. Only my opinion. :)

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