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What Are Drug-Induced Seizures?

a person looks worried as they think "what are drug-induced seizures?"

Seizures are a frightening and potentially dangerous experience for anyone, but when they’re induced by drugs, their occurrence can become more unpredictable. What are drug-induced seizures, exactly, and what triggers them?

BlueCrest Health Group provides substance abuse treatment at our New Jersey rehab campuses, QuickSilver Counseling Center and BlueCrest Recovery Center. You can find support for yourself or a loved one by calling 888.340.2214.

What Are Drug-Induced Seizures?

Certain medical conditions or brain injuries can cause seizures. Epilepsy, traumatic brain injuries, and brain tumors are a few examples. However, drug-induced seizures occur due to specific substances or medications. These types of seizures can be triggered by both illicit drugs and prescription medications.

Drug-induced seizures are convulsions brought on by the use or withdrawal of certain drugs. These seizures can occur as a result of using a wide range of substances, including alcohol, opioids, cocaine, and even some prescription medications. The severity and frequency of these seizures can vary greatly depending on the type of drug used, the dosage, and the individual’s overall health.

What Are Drug-Induced Seizures Symptoms?

The symptoms of drug-induced seizures are similar to those of other types of seizures. They may include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Twitching or jerking movements in the arms and legs
  • Stiffening of the body
  • Confusion or disorientation after regaining consciousness

In some cases, drug-induced seizures can also lead to other serious medical complications, such as respiratory failure or cardiac arrest.

The Connection Between Drug Abuse and Seizures

Drug abuse and seizures often go hand in hand. However, they may occur at different points in a person’s struggle with addiction.


Certain drugs, particularly stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines, can trigger seizures by causing rapid changes in brain activity. Since these stimulants can also increase heart rate and blood pressure, they can put a strain on the brain and trigger seizures.

Drug Interactions

Additionally, certain drugs can interfere with medications used to treat seizures, potentially leading to drug interactions that result in convulsions. For example, taking opioids or alcohol while using anti-seizure medication may decrease its effectiveness and increase the risk of experiencing a seizure.

Depressant Withdrawal

Opioids, alcohol, and benzodiazepines are some of the most common depressants. Alcohol and benzos, however, are especially known for causing seizures during withdrawal. This is because these substances can cause a dependence on the GABA neurotransmitter, which helps regulate brain activity, and can lead to seizures when suddenly stopped.

Breaking the cycle of addiction is difficult to do alone and can be dangerous. Long-term substance abuse, or a period of especially heavy use, can take a toll on the brain. This means that even if you’ve never had a seizure before, it’s possible that drugs may trigger one. If someone you love has struggled with drug abuse and is experiencing seizures, it’s important to seek professional help and start with a proper drug treatment program.

Ongoing Support with Outpatient Treatment

The risk for drug-induced seizures doesn’t disappear after detoxing and completing the initial round of rehab. Relapse is a normal but dangerous part of the recovery process. And, during relapse, dangerous side effects can be more likely. Drug tolerance that was once elevated during active addiction drops sharply once someone begins recovery, making it easier to overdose.

For this reason, it’s essential to continue building a support system after completing an inpatient treatment program. Outpatient treatment provides ongoing care that can help prevent future drug abuse and the potential for seizures. Through counseling and therapy, individuals can learn relapse prevention techniques and develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage cravings and triggers.

Call BlueCrest Health Group for Support Now

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse and has experienced seizures, don’t wait to seek help. Our experienced team at BlueCrest Health Group can provide personalized, comprehensive care that addresses both addiction and co-occurring mental health issues. Call us now at 888.340.2214 or complete our online form to take the first step toward a healthier, happier life.