Alcohol-related seizures

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2011 Feb;29(1):117-24. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2010.08.010.


The term alcohol-related seizures (ARS) is used to refer to all seizures in the aggregate associated with alcohol use, including the subset of alcohol withdrawal seizures (AWS). From 20% to 40% of patients with seizure who present to an emergency department have seizures related to alcohol abuse. However, it is critical to avoid prematurely labeling a seizure as being caused by alcohol withdrawal before performing a careful diagnostic evaluation. Benzodiazepines alone are sufficient to prevent AWS. The alcoholic patient with a documented history of ARS, who experiences a single seizure or a short burst of seizures should be treated with lorazepam, 2 mg intravenously.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium / prevention & control
  • Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures / complications
  • Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures / diagnosis*
  • Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures / drug therapy
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Status Epilepticus / complications
  • Status Epilepticus / drug therapy


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines