1Drinking small or modest amounts of alcohol is unlikely to cause more seizures
2Drinking lots in a short space of time (binge drinking) can make you more likely to have a seizure
3The risk of a seizure is most likely between 6 and 48 hours after stopping drinking
4The guidelines for anyone drinking alcohol say that men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week
5Excessive drinking can reduce the amount of some epilepsy medicines in the body
6Recreational drugs can trigger seizures, and put your health at risk
7You can never be exactly sure what is in recreational drugs
8Recreational drugs include illegal drugs and ‘legal highs’
- The information leaflet that comes with your epilepsy medicine should tell you if alcohol interacts with the medicine
- Remember that drinking alcohol can disrupt sleep, and for some people that is a seizure trigger
- Drink at your own pace – you won’t win any prizes by keeping up with your mates
- It’s a good idea to eat something before you start drinking
- Keep hydrated by drinking water or soft drinks alongside any alcohol
- Try alcohol free drinks. There’s lots of options available, including beers and spirits
- Peer pressure can affect the choices we make. Ask yourself if your friends are influencing what you do
- Be prepared. How would you like to respond if you are offered drugs?
What others have said
If I was put on a different dose of my medication I’d always stop drinking. I wanted to see how well it worked. But as soon as I had a seizure again I’d go back to drinking again.”
Alcohol is a trigger for me. Definitely. When I drink loads generally 2 to 3 days later I have a seizure”
I went through a stage of smoking cannabis it seemed to help me to relax. It’s one of those things that I had to try and now I accept that it was never going to be a solution”
It’s not something I’m proud of but I started using drugs with my friends. It got really bad and what helped was talking to my epilepsy nurse – she didn’t judge, but she was quite blunt. She told me if I carry on the way I’m going, I was probably going to die. It was good for me, she was amazing”
“I’m right off hangovers – I just end up having loads of absences the next day. There are consequences”
What is a unit?
A unit expresses the quantity of pure alcohol in a drink.
One unit equals 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol, which is around the amount of alcohol the average adult can process in an hour.
Flip the cards to find out how many units there are in some common drinks.
How many units are there in these drinks?
3 units = Pint (5.5% alcohol)
2 units = Pint (3.6% alcohol)
1 unit = Half a pint (3.6% alcohol)
3 units = Large glass of wine (12% alcohol, 250ml)
2.1 units = Standard glass of wine (12% alcohol, 175ml)
2 units = Double shot of spirits (50ml, 40% alcohol)
1 unit = Single shot of spirits (small, 25ml, 40% alcohol)
10 units = Bottle of wine (750ml, 13.5% alcohol)
7.5 units = Bottle of wine (750ml, 10% alcohol)
Stories by you
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Have you ever wondered how many units of alcohol you drink in an average week? Use the information above to work it out.
You could make a note of how much you drink in your seizure diary to see if it has any impact on your seizures.