When Epilepsy Meds Mix With Alcohol
Last updated: August 2023
One thing you don't want to do with epilepsy is play with medication. Like taking less to drink or smoke marijuana (which is now legal in many states). Or taking more because of a seizure. We shouldn't adjust our med dosages without the guidance of a doctor.
Sometimes things need to be learned the hard way, and this was a lesson that took me some time to face. Getting a doctor's permission before not taking a dose or taking extra is essential. Even if it is only 5 mg. It's all a careful balance.
Anti-seizure medication and alcohol
And with a lot of anti-epileptic medications, drinking can have risks – but when you're a teenager, who wants to believe the truth? I flash back to times with my boyfriend. We would drink a bottle of champagne in 1 day every now and then.
There was a day I will never forget, and by the same token, I'm very thankful for still being here after it. I was on vacation with my boyfriend and his family in Virginia. It was a lot of fun! And a family friend invited us to a party.
We were shooting pool, socializing, and drinking. All 5 of us had a large amount of beer. At first it felt great to be drunk along with him and his mom, sister, and brother.
Reaction to drinking
On the way back to the hotel, we were all joking around. Then suddenly, not long after we walked into the building, I was feeling unsteady. I needed to sit for a while. I was hugging my knees like the times I was in the hospital because of my medication levels being too high.
We finally walked into our room and he asked if I wanted champagne. Just when he said that is when I fell on my back. The next day, his mother knocked on the door to wake us up and was startled with how bad I looked. I explained how it had to do with medication. After that conversation, the champagne got put away, but we still had a great summer vacation!
I didn't want to believe I couldn't drink alcohol
I stopped drinking alcohol for a year after having that experience. But after my heart was broken, I was depressed and didn't care or want to believe what my mother and doctor told me can happen in regard to alcohol.
It was midday and I went to a bar near my college. Being obsessed with how great mudslides taste, I ordered 1. Today I wonder why the bartender didn't take it away...
After having about 2 inches of my drink, my voice became slurry, my sight was impaired, and I was unaware of my surroundings. A man in the bar noticed me and asked if I would like to go to an emergency room. I was unable to stand or walk alone. He held me up and helped me to walk to Saint Luke's Hospital.
At the hospital, I was not even able to pronounce the names of medication I was taking. Thankfully he understood me enough. I was quickly admitted.
The dangers of my anti-seizure meds and alcohol
Four doctors surrounded me. Discussing what I looked like and if I needed to have my stomach pumped and/or be admitted. They came to a conclusion to wait and see the condition I was in within a few hours. Time went by and I didn't even know what I was seeing as I went through withdrawal. Later that night, a doctor came to see how I was doing and let me go home.
The same outcome can happen with many anti-seizure medications. Before drinking, ask your doctor. Today I enjoy 0.0% Heineken when I'm out with friends. Realistically speaking, alcohol is too dangerous for me. It's not worth taking a risk if I want to be well.
Epilepsy and marijuana?
Also, in terms of marijuana, I simply had to try it – this was a long while back. For me? It caused sedation, sleepiness, and immaturity. I was also not fully aware. After doing it once, I stopped.
Smoking weed definitely isn't a cure for epilepsy, and there could be more than 1 reason why it shouldn't ever be done by some individuals with seizures. It can have to do with the location of your epilepsy, other medical problems, medications, and even surgery that was performed.
I no longer drink
My epileptologist made me aware of all of the above about cannabis and alcohol, and I continue to educate myself online. I now know how alcohol and drugs can damage certain parts of my body physically, mentally, and neurologically. So I choose not to use them.
Take care of yourself before doing anything else. You have only have one life.
Since being diagnosed with epilepsy, has your memory been impacted?