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"Can alcohol cause seizures?"

ZocdocAnswersCan alcohol cause seizures?

Question

My friend had a seizure the day after she drank a lot of alcohol. It only lasted a couple of minutes but she is freaking out and so am I. Can alcohol cause a seizure?

Answer

Alcohol itself is not known to cause seizures, but withdrawal from alcohol certainly can. However, alcohol withdrawal seizures usually occur after someone that normally drinks a lot of alcohol daily suddenly stops. If your friend does not consume alcohol on a regular basis, this binge is unlikely to be solely responsible for her event. The first step for your friend is to figure out if what she had was really a seizure. Many events that look like a seizure actually are not. To figure this out, she needs to schedule an appointment with a neurologist. The neurologist will start by getting a detailed history of the event to decide if it was a seizure or not. If it was not, then follow up may not be needed. If it was a seizure, then the neurologist will do one things. First, he or she may decide to see if another seizure occurs. We usually don't initiate a seizure or epilepsy workup until someone has had two seizures. Second, if the neurologist is concerned that your friend may have had more than one seizure, then a workup for this will occur. It will start with a head MRI and an electro-encephalogram (EEG). This will help figure out what happened to your friend. Good luck.

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