Department of Neurology

What is the difference between seizures and epilepsy?

Q: Hello,

My roomy has seizures, Pretty bad when he has them. Right now he is in the hospital once again. My question is, it seems that epilepsy is very similar to seizures, is that true? I am very concerened. and very scared..

He does not do drugs, but likes to drink. I've searched the net/ web and can not find any info. What pops up is epilepsy. Please help me to help him!

Sincerely with all my heart,

Karen


A: Seizures are episodes of behavior (such as staring, or jerking of the body) that are caused by abnormal brain electrical activity. Seizures can result from a wide variety of causes, such as metabolic abnormalities and head injury. Epilepsy means that the seizures are recurrent (they occur more than once) and are not due to some transient cause. In other words, they occur under relatively normal conditions.

Drinking alcohol can cause seizures, either during intoxication or withdrawal. Also, intoxication or withdrawal can aggravate seizures in someone who already has epilepsy. Whether your friend has alcohol-related seizures only, or also has epilepsy must be determined after an evaluation by someone knowledgeable in this area, usually a neurologist or epileptologist. Either way, he should stop drinking alcohol.

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