When someone has compulsively consumed alcohol in excessive amounts for a long time, there are many withdrawal symptoms they will encounter if they suddenly stop drinking without slowly weaning themselves off the alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal seizures are one of the most severe risks during this withdrawal time. There are two periods during detox that seizures can occur. These seizures are withdrawal seizures and DTs, or delirium tremens. Only the most severe cases will experience DTs, though.
Those experiencing alcohol withdrawal seizures will typically experience grand mal seizures between six hours and two days once they quit drinking. Alcohol withdrawal seizures may occur in those with no prior history of seizures. Without medical help, around 60% of people will have more than one seizure, with around 3% of those people encountering seizures that are epilepticus. Approximately 30 to 40% of those experiencing seizures will begin having DTs.
The most serious withdrawal symptoms from alcohol are delirium tremens. These seizures may appear as soon as three days from the last drink, or up to 10 days. Delirium tremens are most common in those with a long history of drinking who have gone through periods of withdrawal previously. These alcohol withdrawal seizures can be very dangerous, even to the point of being life-threatening. If you or a loved one begins having DTs, seek medical support immediately.
Though many of the other symptoms of DTs can take a long time to manifest, DT alcohol withdrawal seizures can begin within 12 hours and present themselves as generalized tonic-clonic seizures. These seizures typically start with an aura experience that includes hallucinations and can affect the person sensory perception. Some of the symptoms of generalized tonic-clonic seizures include:
Once these alcohol withdrawal seizures have passed, the person may begin experiencing mental fogginess, temporary weakness on half their body, intense sleepiness, memory loss from the incident, or a headache.
The best way to avoid alcohol withdrawal seizures is to seek help. We at Coastline Behavioral Health are here to walk you through the process of detoxification. We have the expertise needed to help you overcome your addiction in a safe and healthy way.