A seizure is a burst of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain that causes temporary abnormalities in muscle movements, such as stiffness, twitching, and limpness. A seizure can also cause abnormalities in behaviors, sensations, and states of awareness. Although seizures are a common symptom of epilepsy, they can also occur due to drug abuse, infection of the central nervous system, and cardiovascular disease. Our Clearbrook rehab in Massachusetts shares more about drug-induced seizures, why they happen, and what drugs can cause them.
Can Drugs Induce Seizures?
Yes, drugs can induce or cause seizures and do so by producing a direct epileptogenic effect or causing problems like hypoglycemia that can cause secondary seizures. Chemicals like GABA and different neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin each play a role in seizures, as well as drug addiction. Many drugs like opioids and cocaine affect the brain by activating these chemicals, producing a euphoric high. For example, opioids attach to receptors on brain cells (neurons), activating the release of hormones like dopamine and serotonin, which affect mood and reward. As a result, the person’s senses begin to dull, and they experience a high characterized by euphoria and contentment. Because these drugs are powerful enough to affect neurotransmitter levels, they can also affect the excitatory pathways in the brain, causing seizures.
Some common seizure-inducing drugs include:
Even some antiepileptic drugs can provoke or aggravate seizures. Seizures are also common side effects of withdrawal from substances like alcohol and benzos. Exposing the body to drugs can cause seizures by reducing blood flow by depressing the heart’s ability to contract, contracting in arteries and blood vessels, and causing an irregular heart rate. Individuals predisposed to seizures or who have epilepsy may also be more sensitive to certain drugs. As a result, they may be more likely to experience this side effect when using drugs, whether legally or illegally. Long-term drug abuse can increase the likelihood of drug-induced seizures, and it can also result in addiction. Clearbrook Treatment Centers Pennsylvania offers safe medical detox and addiction treatment for those struggling with drug abuse who want to avoid experiencing any further repercussions like seizures.
Drug-Induced Seizure Symptoms
Drug-induced seizures can be terrifying, especially if the individual has never seen or experienced a seizure before. A person does not have to have epilepsy to experience seizures. This condition can occur for various reasons, and drugs tend to produce seizures both during use and in withdrawals.
The most common symptoms of drug-induced seizures include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Difficulties breathing
- Hypercapnia (when there’s much carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, which is often caused by breathing difficulties)
- Hypoxia (when muscle tissues lack oxygen, which can be caused by difficulties breathing)
- Hyperthermia (overheating of the body)
- Lactic acidosis (when lactic acid builds up in the bloodstream due to low oxygen levels in cells)
- Rhabdomyolysis (when a breakdown of muscle tissue releases a damaging protein into the bloodstream)
Conditions like hypercapnia, hyperthermia, and rhabdomyolysis are all life-threatening conditions requiring immediate medical assistance. In addition to seizures, abusing drugs like opioids, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and even antidepressants can lead to addiction. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease characterized by the uncontrollable use of drugs despite their repercussions. It is a life-threatening disease in and of itself that many people develop as a result of heavy drug and alcohol use. In addition, other side effects like cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, and even drug-induced acne can occur from long-term drug or alcohol abuse.
Fortunately, help is available at Clearbrook Massachusetts for people who are battling addiction. Our medically monitored drug and alcohol rehab programs include addiction treatment related to substances like alcohol, benzos, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, methadone, and more. To learn how we can help you or a loved one get sober, call us now at 570-536-9621.