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General Health & Seizure Triggers

It is important to maintain a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. Monitoring what may trigger a seizure is helpful for people with epilepsy. Lack of sleep or stress can affect seizure control. Eating regularly and maintaining a well-balanced and nutritious diet are also important. A poor and irregular diet may affect seizure medication levels. Excessive alcohol consumption and subsequent withdrawal and use of street drugs can trigger seizures.

Some women experience an increase in seizures around the time of menstruation. This is referred to as catamenial epilepsy. In those with photosensitive epilepsy, flashing or flickering lights may induce seizures. Be cautious around the use of computers, video games, television etc...

There are specific health-related issues associated with particular groups of individuals including seniors, children and women, that should be discussed with a physician.

Common Seizure Triggers

While some people are not able to identify specific events or circumstances that affect seizures, other are able to recognize definite seizure triggers. It is useful to learn your seizure triggers so that seizures can be avoided. Some common triggers include:

™ Forgetting to take prescribed seizure medication
™ Lack of sleep
™ Missing meals
™ Stress, excitement, emotional upset
™ Menstrual cycle/hormonal changes
™ Illness or fever
™ Low seizure medication levels
™ Medications other than prescribed anticonvulsant
™ Flickering lights of computers, televisions, video games etc...
™ Excessive alcohol consumption and subsequent withdrawal
™ Street Drugs (e.g. cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, LSD, withdrawal from marijuana)

Will drinking alcohol trigger seizures?

While excessive use of alcohol and subsequent withdrawal can trigger seizures, modest occasional alcohol consumption does not seem to increase seizure activity in individuals who are not alcoholics or who are not sensitive to alcohol. Alcohol use can, however, lower the metabolism which results in lower blood levels of the seizure medication that is also metabolized by the liver.

Drinking alcohol can also lower the seizure threshold. A seizure threshold is the level at which the brain will have a seizure. Some physicians recommend that individuals with uncontrolled seizures abstain from alcohol consumption. If you choose to consume alcohol, it is essential that you continue taking your seizure medication as prescribed.


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