Eli5 how come you don’t usually die from regular seizures but the risk of death is way higher when it comes to alcohol and benzo withdrawal seizures? Also what is a seizure?

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Eli5 how come you don’t usually die from regular seizures but the risk of death is way higher when it comes to alcohol and benzo withdrawal seizures? Also what is a seizure?

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5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

The greatest risk with almost any seizure, is the propensity to cause yourself brain or other damage when you fall. Such as breaking your nose. To the best of my knowledge, when having a seizure, usually the body’s autonomic systems are suspended because the brain isn’t firing no neurons correctly. So you are unable to do things like clear your throat of liquid etc.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Well if we were to talk about an extreme: agent orange causes seizures until your heart literally is too tired to continue pumping. So, essentially alcohol and benzos causes the blood to thin, which lowers your risk for stroke, but causes the heart to work more and your heart is basically overworked by a seizure so the inclusion of the alcohol and benzos just increases the chance of your heart basically giving out on you

Anonymous 0 Comments

Imagine Christmas lights turning on in sequence, from left to right, from top to bottom. This is your brain.

Now imagine the timer messed up and all of those lights appear to be randomly blinking. This is your brain on seizures. The lights firing for breathing are still blinking.

Now imagine the first set of lights, all nicely controlled. Except a drunk person just stumbled through the wiring. Now some are blinking, some are not. And no matter how much you mess with the timer, the wide spread damage to the system is preventing it from working correctly. This is your brain on withdrawal seizures.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There are many different types and causes of seizures, but overall they tend to last a very short amount of time and have little risk of damage on their own. More often people get hurt when they have a seizure while doing something else like driving or walking down stairs. Really long seizures can damage the brain though, especially when someone’s very young and their brain is still developing. People trained with epileptic patients and especially parents of children with epilepsy will usually time a seizure and call 911 or give medicine if it lasts too long.

The risk of death from alcohol and benzo withdrawal is related to the heart, not the brain. Alcohol and benzos reduce electrical activity in your body but over time you get used to it, and create more electrical signals to compensate. When you suddenly stop drinking or taking benzos there’s wayyy too much activity which can cause seizures, but these usually last a very short time like I mentioned before.

Your heart also beats using electrical signals, and these can be affected in the same way except when these signals get interrupted they don’t go back to normal very easily. The way people die from alcohol and benzo withdrawal is called “sudden cardiac death” and it’s due to a disruption in the electrical signals that tell your heart to pump in rhythm. This can stop it completely or make it pump so out of sync that it’s not enough to move blood properly and keep you alive.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There may be a combination of risk factors present when the seizure is due to alcohol or benzo withdrawal, including other withdrawal symptoms which may result in vomiting and being unable to clear the airway.
There is also typically a high rate of comorbid health conditions in people with physical dependence on alcohol or other drugs which can increase risks