Alcohol Abuse

'Alcohol Abuse' image

Excessive drinking over a long period may result in temporary or permanent brain damage, which in turn can increase the risk of many conditions, including epilepsy. One in five alcoholic men and one in ten alcoholic women over the age of 25 years experience epileptic seizures. In most cases the seizures result from the withdrawal of alcohol after an intense bout of drinking. Hospital tests usually show no sign of abnormal brain activity, which often remains, even though alcohol is no longer consumed.

In some cases of alcoholism, established epilepsy develops as a result of brain damage caused either by the direct effects of alcohol on the brain, or head injuries sustained while drunk. In such cases hospital tests will usually reveal abnormal brain activity, which often remains, even though alcohol is no longer consumed.

Some people experience epileptic seizures, which are unconnected with their alcoholism. These are people who would have developed epilepsy anyway, regardless of their other problems.

In a few others, alcoholism may develop after the onset of the epilepsy. This may be as a result of alcohol being used as an escape from difficulties experienced with personal relations, employment, etc

In our society, alcohol is often a symbol of sociability and hospitality. If the person with epilepsy is to have a full and rewarding social life, it is essential that a responsible attitude to its use be maintained.