Drug Induced Seizures

Recovery position

The recovery position; an essential after seizure position to prevent choking and allow good respiration.

Many drug users may have experienced a seizure at one time or another –and you don’t have to be an epileptic to have a seizure.

[Epileptic] seizures can be very frightening to experience and to witness and although many ‘committed’ drug users/drinkers will have experienced a seizure at some point in our lives, there are still many myths that concern how to deal with a person who is fitting and a general lack of understanding as to what triggers ones seizure, or how to deal with it when it occurs. (look at OD Myths’ in Black Poppy 2).

There are two main types of epileptic seizures; petit mal (minor epilepsy where a person may momentarily lapse into inattention/ daydreaming without losing consciousness) and Grand Mal ( Major epilepsy) which is more serious with muscular spasms and convulsions and a short loss of consciousness. People who are epileptic may often carry an orange ID card or wear a warning bracelet. With drug use, it is the major type of seizure that occurs most often. This is usually from long term (or heavy bingeing) benzo or barbiturate use; A person may miss taking their pills for a day and find themselves fitting. However, seizures can occur alongside an overdose on most drugs, indeed they occur from too much alcohol, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, antidepressants and many others.  Interestingly, everyone has what is known as a ‘seizure threshold’ meaning that anyone can experience one given the right conditions. (BP has an indepth article on seizures, see Issue 11 for our drug induced seizure update.)

It is certain that stress increases the possibility of seizures, as does menstrual changes, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, metabolic changes (including blood pressure that is too low or drug/alcohol use), virus activity and other things, such as trauma to the head area, with seizures more likely to  re-occur if someone has had them in the past.

It is important to get to know what ‘trigger’ your seizures as it appears that the more you get them, the more susceptible you become to getting them. Thus if you can find ways to reduce the likelihood of getting a seizure, either through using certain neuroleptic drugs and improving your lifestyle, you have more chance of getting rid of them. Most people do stop or ‘grow out’ of seizures, but they can come back when your body is struggling from one thing or another.

Many of us have experienced seizures starting through too much benzodiazepines use (or rather, from stopping them too quickly). Seizures can still happen up to a few years after benzo/barbiturate use has stopped. (see warning signs).

What is happening in the brain when a seizure happens?

A typical brain like yours has about 10 billion (10,000,000,000) cells called “neurons.” These neurons are all bunched up side-by-side, and communicate with each other with electrical charges. Certain chemicals in your brain help put brakes on all of this electrical activity. In a seizure, a “short circuit” occurs, during which the neurons keep firing.  Since the neurons control your muscles, then the muscles keep firing.  This stiffening or jerking of your muscles is what everyone sees and calls a seizure.  Sometimes, in ‘petite mal’ seizures, your body might just go into a staring spell, but it’s due to the same kind of short circuit.

When someone has a seizure…

It is ESSENTIAL to remain calm when a person has a seizure -as they can often become very frightened and confused when regaining consciousness and may not recognize their surroundings. There is often no indication prior to someone having a fit, perhaps the person may get an odd taste or smell or a type of ‘aura’ surrounding their mood or body. A person will usually just suddenly lose consciousness, sometimes letting out a strange cry, or will just pass into unconsciousness and then begin fitting.

The casualty will become rigid for a few seconds and may cease breathing with their mouth and lips turning blue. There will be congestion around the face and neck. The muscles then relax and the convulsions begin. They consist of contraction and relaxation of alternate groups of muscles. These convulsions can be frightening to witness as they can be very intense. During this period which will only last a few minutes, the person may froth about the mouth and breathing can become noisy and difficult. You may see blood coming from their mouth but this will probably be the result of a bitten tongue. Your pal may sometimes lose control of their bladder or bowels.

After the convulsions finish (usually 5 minutes at most) the person will remain unconscious for a few more minutes or more, breathing will become normal and they will slowly ‘come around’ feeling dazed, confused and often scared. When a person has a seizure:

What can you do to help?

1) You can protect them from injury by holding them gently but firmly enough so they don’t hurt themselves whilst convulsing, but never hold them unnecessarily, you could do damage or you may get hurt.

2) Don’t move or lift them unless they are in danger and NEVER put anything in their mouth or try to open it. Spoons to stop people swallowing tongues are a MYTH, DONT DO IT!

3) When the convulsions cease, put them in the recovery position (see fig 6). Stay with them until they awake properly, speak calmly and reassuringly to them and try to make sure the first person they see is a loved one or friend rather than a stranger. Don’t give them anything to drink until they are fully awake. Leave them to rest as long as they need to in a quiet room. It is extremely exhausting for the body. You may need to comence mouth to mouth if their breathing hasn’t returned to normal from their overdose.

Call an ambulance if:

It is the persons first seizure,

Or it accompanies an overdose,

Or the person has two or three fits without regaining consciousness between them,

Or they take longer than 15 minutes to regain consciousness

It is always important however, they advise their doctor about the seizure, at least to rule out any other causes such as a virus, tumor or other problem.

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30 Comments

  1. oli

     /  March 14, 2014

    Hi I am about to try cocaine… i had epilepsy however it was well controlled by tablets. I no longer need pills and have not had a real fit for maybe a few years and havent taken tablets for almost three years…… are my chances of getting a fit from taking cocaine high? I have taken mdma and had no fit! Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi,
      Thanks for writing in. Well, if you have a susceptibility to seizures, and indeed if you have had epilepsy, then you probably know that you have a few ‘triggers’ that can make you more vulnerable to having fits (as in the past). Things like lack of sleep, not eating, lots of stress, etc. So, in terms of cocaine, people do have seizures from overuse of coke, it is one of the main drugs that cause seizures, especially if you inject. Usually, seizures in coke users occur when they have too much, and have been pushing their bodies hard or have been drinking a lot on top of everything. In your case, if you are very determined to take cocaine, it would be best to take some precautions. 1stly, make sure you know your source. Have friends used it before you? Did they think it ‘felt’ ok/normal. Always try and buy from someone who uses their own product, or at least ensure your friends know the product. 2nd, Be sure on the day leading up to your coke session, you have slept well, (this is very important to get a good nights sleep under your belt), and have eaten well. Stock up on your B vitamins (good for nervous system) especially B12, (click this link) Mackeral or tuna and swiss cheese on a sandwich for example are excellent sources of B12, as are many crustaceans like crab etc; marmite/vegemite on toast, and swallow a B complex slow release vitamin in the week beforehand and the week afterwards. Ok so this won’t prevent a fit if one is coming but it arms you with a better defense.
      no 3) – is dont drink alcohol! Alcohol in itself can trigger a seizure, and cocaine allows people to drink a lot more than they normally would, only hitting them later, which it does, Pow! So, if you think you can pace yourself and just have a glass of wine or 2, or wine and orange juice etc, then that is up to you but to protect yourself fully, avoiding alcohol is the best bet. Be sure to never let yourself get dehydrated, so always drink water inbetween any other drinks, esp if you decide to drink alcohol. 4th, make certain that one of your friends who you will be with for the duration of the drug taking, knows what to do if you have a seizure. Mainly, this will involve, keeping you safe, holding you gently but firmly so you dont hurt yourself while fitting (bang your head etc) and placing you in the recovery position afterwards, and staying with you until you wake up and taking you home safely. It can be hard to ask a friend but remember, this is what friends are for, and remind them that you will be there for them should anything ever happen to them during such a situation. Good luck, dont go overboard on the coke, dont inject just snort or swallow, (smoking freebase can be fit material as well, much lie injecting so be very careful and when your body says ‘I Think Ive Had Enough’ – LISTEN to it!! Its always RIGHT!! Take care, BP x

      Reply
  2. Well here a story here I was using meth and I was up for 2 month’s straight and I got busted with my well a guy that is now my ex I had to of my kids with me yes it’s stupid I was dum but any way when dhs came and took my babies I lost it I had 2 seizures bk to bk it lasted like a few mins and tell this day I sit have them I have a symptoms every day and every time I have one they are different everytime I have one I forget what I’m talking abt and what I did later that day it’s like it erases some of my memory it’s crazy I get wearied symptoms like day dream tengaling and other things I just wish it would go away but with the past of meth use it will prob never go away

    Reply
    • Dear April,
      Im so sorry to hear about your babies being taken, there is no pain greater on this earth. WE are so sorry to hear about this, it must have been horrific for all of you. Stress does indeed trigger seizures, it is often tho working with some other tings like lack of sleep, no food, low blood pressure, alcohol and/or drug use etc. You say you get these symptoms where you have a vague sort of black out and forget what you have been saying etc. Tis actually sounds like what they call Petite Mal seizures.Have a look up on the internet. Tey are sometimes known as ‘Absence seizures’. |But you will need a proper diagnosis. Petite Mal seizures can often be confused with complex partial seizures and it is important to get the right diagnosis as the treatment for one is not recommended for the other. Check out this link as a basic start point and see if this is relevant to you.. There is treatment for this and it is important that you seek out a good diagnosis and get the appropriate treatment as it is hard work for your brain to be experiencing this every day! You can ring your local Epilepsy Organisation or Trust and speak to someone there who may be able to give you more sympathetic advice as a first port of call. Good luck, and we hope you may one day soon reunite with your babies. Most kids always come looking for their birth mother. Best of luck April BPx

      Reply
  3. Isaaq

     /  December 8, 2013

    I was smoking weed through my nose because i couldnt smoke through my mouth because i had my wisdom teeth removed ( i know im stupid) well as the day went on i was ok but once my friend rolled a blunt and i smoked it through my nose 3 minuted later my vision started turning gray like if i got up too fast, the next thing i know im on the floor waking up to see my friends looking at me asking if i was ok, i weirdly knew i had a seizure and my friends said it lasted less than a minute, but a few seconds later i went to pee and i went gray again, except i didnt twitch this time i just fell for a few seconds. I was dropped off home really tired and kinda confused but played it off to my grandma that i was tired and layed with her (just in case i had one in my sleep) i woke up the next day feeling ok maybe just a little dizzy and have a very small headache that is already going away, i didnt go to the hospital or doctor because of how ashamed i would be to tell my grandma. Should i worry i never had a seizure and i hope i dont get brain damage

    Reply
  4. sara

     /  November 20, 2013

    This will be a interesting story for you guys. Once when I was younger my friends talked me into doing E. I was scared at first but soon jumped on the band wagon. After that I never touched it again. Years later I was having a sleep over with my friend, and all of a sudden I woke up walked to the light tried to turn it on but instead I was flicking the switch on and off I couldn’t stop and I was shaking yelling to my friend I was freaking out. I tried laying down after my little episode and my eyes started to flutter back and forth I tried drinking water and I couldn’t stop shaking my eyes were going a hundred miles per hour all I could say to my friend was I’m freaking out man. I was stuttering and couldn’t stop the violent shakes I don’t remember much after that and was unsure what cause it. Years later I spent the whole day and night with new friends popping and snorting E. ( I’d like to add I’ve only done E twice in my life) It was fine and interesting at the time but wow what a hang over. Nothing happened till a while after but I had a seizure at a friends. I was sleeping in a dark room and woke up on the floor. My friends soon took me to the hospital worried of my safety I told them I didn’t want to go but they insisted.That night we had some drinks and a little bump of coke it was not a big deal we didn’t feel very drunk or even high so we went to bed. I’ve done coke before and drank and slept fine. This had to happen this night, and I couldn’t figure it out for the longest time. Every time I’ve had an episode where I’m shaking or my eyes are fluttering back and forth it has been in a dark room. When I get this feeling I have to keep my eyes wide open or I feel like I’m going to have another seizure. I can usually get myself out of having an episode but years later I had another seizure I didn’t go to bed while on drugs or alcohol I was sober but I woke up on the floor the person I was sleeping with was hovering over me asking if I was alright. I said yes and went back to bed like nothing happened. Now its been a lot of years now since I have had a seizure but I still wake up sometimes in bed trying to fight off having one. I cant sleep in a dark room or close my eyes if its happening I have to have some light to focus on. There are more details which are hard to explain and I don’t want to make this story any longer then it is. This is the first time I’m putting my story out there. Only close friends know and I’m worried if these episodes I have will continue in my life or can I eventually get over them with time? what can I do for myself, do I see a doctor? I’m still not comfortable with that I don’t know how to bring it up. I’ve quit those drugs only alcohol and pot are sometimes in my life. I need some help or insight please, or direct me to the right person who can deal with this issue of mine. Thank you so very much for your time.

    Reply
  5. Mae

     /  November 2, 2013

    Last Tuesday, I took one and a half rolls of X with my love, as we were coming down I kept smoking synthetic marijuana. He smokes it all the time, I rarely touch it. So he didn’t think anything of it. He thought it was the rolls that did that to me. Although it was his first time rolling, I’ve rolled numerous times in my past. Anyways, by the time the roll was ending and the synthetic weed started kicking in…I could feel that something was seriously wrong, I thought I was just fading out but that if I closed my eyes I was going to be dead. That was around the time I blacked out. Apparently, I shot straight up on the bed holding my chest and my pulse in my neck, having not been able to speak a word. He saw that I felt like everything was fading away from me and I had tried to dive out the second story window. After breaking through the first layer of glass, he grabbed me and I fell to the ground convulsing. I can faintly remember moments between each convulsion. All I can remember was that I was about to die, that something was wrong. I couldn’t hear him, I couldn’t speak. He had no idea what I needed or what was going on. He said it looked like a demon was trying to come out of me. I was bouncing all over the place with my eyes wide open and my pupils dilated with zero color, foaming from the mouth. I can remember between each episode, trying to get outside to cool off. I must have convulsed on the stairs b/c I dove from the top stair down 16 steps head first to the bottom steps, flailed around at the bottom, then got up like nothing happened and ran outside. I made it outside, naked. I remember running around in a circle trying to “fix” myself. I just wanted to be able to breathe. I guess I fell to the ground and convulsed again. He got me back inside, and yet again I was on the ground again. I finally made it to the bathroom, I was able to point to the water and he figured out to turn it on cold. I remember laying under the cold water, thinking again I was going to die and to try and hold on until the paramedics got there, and I convulsed again…only I could remember that one, my legs and arms flailing and my head knocking between each edge of the bathtub and my fiance trying to hold me down, I had no control. The paramedics finally got there and I still couldn’t move or speak. They said my pupils were unresponsive and fully dilated. The hospital is 40 minutes away, I was finally able to speak 5 minutes away from the hospital. They got my heart rate and blood pressure stabilized and discharged me 5 hours later. They did no tests on me, just an IV, albuterol, and a heart test. My fiance said I had a total of 7 possibly 8 seizures within 35 minutes. Was I dead if I didn’t get under that cold water? Was it just a really bad trip off the synthetic weed, were they really seizures? I have no background of seizures that I’m aware of. I’ve mixed numerous drugs in the past. From your replies, I’m also more prone to more seizures now in the future? I’m definitely not wanting the synthetic weed now or ever but am curious to solve this mystery. Thank you.

    Reply
  6. krista

     /  October 16, 2013

    About 3 or 4 yrs ago, I overdosed on heroin. I shot up on a friend’s bed and laid back to enjoy the high. I heard what was going in around me and felt like my friend kept smacking me in the face to make me come to. My friend’s boyfriend shot me up with suboxin to counteract the overdose and i came to. My friend said I was seizing and my lips turned blue. I never went to see a doctor because I was doing drugs and didn’t want to get caught. I’ve always wondered if that seizure could cause me problems later down the road. I have chronic migraines and neck tension and don’t know if the seizure had anything to do with making them worse. As a teenager, I did all uppers (meth) but I swapped to heroin and that’s when things went south. I’ve been sober now for 3 or 4 yrs. I’ll never become a slave to heroin again.

    Reply
    • Hi, thanks for your message. Yes, it can be a really traumatic thing to go through, and not something you forget easily either. Can you find out ( if pu still see those friends) whether you had convulsions and/or a seized up body and not just a seized up mouth and jaw area? Its just that grand mal seizures ( which they usually are when occurring at the same time as overdoses – as opposed to petite mal, the other sort) are accompanied by your entire body seizing up, sometimes frothing at the mouth, and usually some convulsing of body areas- or whole body. It last for a few minutes. I say this because I believe it is possible to have, when in midst of overdose, a very milder kind of seizing up of muscles, often jaw and throat area, but which relax as soon as air gets back in the lungs thru mouth to mouth or recovery etc. If you can find answers to exactly what jappened, you will know then whether it was a seizure with OD, or OD alone (which very often involve involuntary muscle tightening but that isn’t from a grand mal seizure, and sonothing to worry about long term.
      The next thing I wud say to answer ur question, is that neck problems may be triggering your migraines (but again I’m no doctor) if there is a trapped nerve going on, it might be worth gettong gentle chinese massage
      or trying acupuncture. It can have surprising results. I’m sure you’ve tried using beta blockers? As preventative measure, it shows highdegrees of success for many migraine sufferers and they are very easy to tolerate. Re a seizure making migraines worse, i’m afraid you’d have to ask a neurologist that one, but if u are worried there are many forums where you can engage doctors in questions like this and who shud gve u some answers. My personal opinion is that it is unlikely,from just one, and is more likely to be from tension emanating from your neck//trapped nerve. Sometimes years of amphetamine use can mean a lot of bodily tension builds up and we doont expell properly and so it can build up in solidlumps, esp around neck, shoulders, jaw, legs. You might have picked up
      some bodily positions from that time that are still with u to some extent, which pushes other muscles to compensate, wrongly. This can end up pressing on nerves or creat inflammation. Lastly, yess having a seizure will have lowered your ‘seizure threshold’ so remain mindful the next time u are overindulging and take extra care by eating plenty before partying, make time to sleep (pace ypurself by napping and getting quiet time) protect yourself – even more so if you have been feeling mentally or physically drained as these are often the basis to start chipping away at your threshold. Maturity in drug use often helps u really appreciate the benefits of pacing yourself, after all there is no real joy in being comatosed, ending up legless in a bush, or with ur head down the toilet all nite! Eat, rest, pace your drugs, always know your source Nd get to understand what drugs don’t agree with you and avoid them. Its not worth the trouble. Good luck on your road ahead and stick with what good for you, you know it deep down aye?! In solidarity, BPxx

      Reply
  7. Hannah Marie Price

     /  October 7, 2013

    Hello, I am 17 and when I was 15 I overdosed on my friends anti epileptic pills, trying to commit suicide. Long story short, I went to many hospitals and ended up in a therapeutic boarding school. I just recently got out. For the past year, my eyes randomly look up- while I’m conscious – and I can’t look down but for a second or two. And sometimes I ”zone out” randomly. And completely stop paying attention to whats going on. Could I be having seizures? Or is this something a specialist needs to check out?

    Reply
  8. Bethan

     /  August 4, 2013

    Hi, I’m an 18 year old female, I’ve taken various stimulants over the last few years. On Thursday around 2pm I took some amphetamine and I carried on taking it at regular intervals until Saturday 3am. I ate one meal in this time (chicken and rice). I also drank alcohol. I went to sleep and then when I woke up about 6am, I still felt off my face and wasn’t ‘normal’ at all’, but I wasn’t able to sleep for more than that. Later that day, I was at a theme park and I went on a ride. When I got on the ride, my eye’s started going blurry and I couldn’t see properly and then whilst on the ride (going upside down and being swung side to side, very high up), I just kept having a strange feeling like i was half concious/half not and then I can’t remember anything. The next thing I’m aware of is I’m off the ride and my mum/first aided are holding me up and I got really agitated that they were touching me and I had a sit down and some water and a biscuit. My mum said I just slumped in the seat and then my arms and legs started shaking/convulsing when I was on the ride. I think it was one of those tonic-clonic seizures? I bit my tongue, my lips/arms turned a blue-ish colour and I also wet myself. I read about causes of seizures, drug use, stress, sleep deprivation, mal-nurtition and strobe lighting etc (the lights on the ride may have been like that).
    I have gone longer than that (36 hours) without sleep/food but it was when I was taking a different drug, not amphetamine. Definately not going to be taking loads of speed anytime soon, and if I did I’ll definately eat and not stay awake a stupid amount of hours. I was just wondering weather or not I should go to the doctors? Could there also be anything underlying and that the drugs/no sleep/mal-nutrition triggered it? Would you advise going to the doctors or just being careful with the drug use etc in future?
    Thanks in advance :)

    Reply
    • Dear Bethan,

      Wow, I really admire your insight and at such a young age! Well done for thinking seriously about what happened and doing some research; seizures are serious -they are hard work for your brain, and it is essential you make sure your think about – and write down or tell a close friend/parent what exactly happened.
      Re your questions;
      1) yes, considering this was your FIRST tonic clonic seizure (sounds classic) -it is essential you see the doc and rule out any other conditions that may have triggered this. You may need an MRI, or to see a neurologist, or even if it is a case of money (lack of -or not wanting to let your insurer know the details of what might have caused it -they may penalise you in the future re fees etc -depending where you live) -you could even get hold of an epilepsy forum/helpline/group etc which could offer some really helpful and free advice.

      I didnt ever get an MRI when i had my first seizure – just got judged harshly by the A&E team and had my stomach pumped out and was sent home in shock. However I would at least get a series of bloods done and a check up by a Dr. It is important there is nothing underlying this.

      2) -Personally (and please Im no Dr, but have a great deal of interest, knowledge and experience of seizures), I would make a note of what happened in the days leading up to the seizure. It sounds like a classic case of pushing your body too hard too the point of exhaustion, you may have been dehydrated as well, low electrolites, low blood pressure from fatigue and hunger…All together, with days awake and amphetamines on top -it sounds like a classic seizure. If you had stayed in bed, even if you had woken up and couldnt sleep, but eaten something, drank milk -re stocked up on B vitamins (keep some handy to take when you are pushing your nervous system – especially after menstruation) -B12 especially. Electrolites you can buy at chemist in sachets -they are brilliant for instantly bringing up low levels of salts and important things your body needs and lacks when exhausted and hungry. Keep yourself a pre and post party care pack -and use it. The point is – once you have had your first seizure -your body is more suseptible to them -and the next one could occur in similar circumstances if you cane it the same way again. You gotta eat something – even if you can only manage smoothies, yogurts, ice cream, soups, water, juices, vegie juices are FAB, fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt. All easy to digest – but you can just forget. Dont. And you seem like someone who could really educate your pals as well -your brain is developing still until your 25 or so -its easy to hit the limit before you realise. Remember that a healthy body that is stoned, has more fun than a sickly person who is stoned. Make a pact with your buddies to care for each other – and show them all what to do if ANY of you has a seizure; many folk freak out with their pal convulsing -its very frightening (look at youtube for examples) -and its essential you have calmness around you when you wake up. The first aider and your mum should really of had you lieing down in the recovery position somewhere very quiet with the first face and voice you were to hear should have been only your mums. talking to you gently, softly, protectively. I wouldnt advise having a benzodiazepine on standby at your age as you have the chance to avoid these occuring again. They happen from ANY drug, even opiates. It is about TOXICITY levels, and an exhausted / vulnerable body. Your amazing for your insight -develop it -seek out harm reduction measures, tell your mates, look after each other. Much love and respect,
      BP x

      Reply
  9. Britt

     /  April 21, 2013

    Yes. I just got back from the hospital because my friend gets them constantly when he smikes or even does lines now. It never ysed to be that bad. His seizer t gh is tim lasted 8 minutes, he didnt become conscience for 20 min and toom 3 hours to start remembering the date, ect.

    Reply
    • Hi Britt, apologies for the delay -but we have added quite a bit to the comments section lately that your friend may find useful. As long as he doesnt use very regularly, he may benefit from taking a 5 or 10mg benzodiazipine BEFORE he smokes any stimulants. However benzos are addictive so it wont help him if he is using every day as he will end up with 2 habits. And, interestingly benzo withdrawal can actually CAUSE seizures so it is essential that this kind of help is only occasional, on days when he thinks he may be susceptible. It is dangerous to keep having seizures so he needs to find a way to reduce this risk. As mentioned – noting down -and then avoiding his ‘triggers’, having a few benzos handy, friends such as yourself knowing what to do when he gets one. Your description is typicalof a grand-mal seizure however it does sound like a very big one, and 8 minutes is too long and worthy of an ambulance – you did the right thing. Good luck and let him know he can write to us here,
      best of luck, BPx

      Reply
  10. Lacey

     /  April 12, 2013

    HI Im 14 and i smoked Cocaine (crack) and had a Grand Mal i also did it again and nothing happened Will it happen again if i try it again? Im not scared of dying either i poroably will OD on purpose I WANT to die my life sucks ass!!

    Reply
    • Hey Lacie, sorry for delay. I too had a seizure when i was 14, i took a trip and fell off a bed and banged my head and had a seizure. scared the shit outa me, but not enough to stop using drugs. I didnt have another til i was about 17 or 18 from too many downer type tablets and heroin, and then, throughout my 20′s i just seemed to get the mmore and more, anytime i was trying to push the boundaries when my body was fragile. Eventually it got to the stage when Id have one if I just woke up in the morning and had a reasonably sized heroin injection. However I got to know my ‘triggers; and gained more control, had a benzo when i felt very fragile as it was these occaisions when an injection etc would push me opver the edge. eventually i was able to avoid them, despite ccontinuing to use drugs -i just got more knowledgable about myself, the drugs i was taking and their effects and was able to make safer decisions, to the great releif of me and those who love me! As bad as things feel now Lacie -please hang it there – things will pass -all shitty feelings are a phase and you WILL pass through it. But you MUST try and protect your body -especially at your delicate age where the brain is still forming and you are still very vulnerable. Pushing onesself to extremes can end up in some very very tragic situations – death might feel preferable sometimes when things are really bad, but throwing caution to the wind could just mean you end up paralysed from a drug induced accident, brain damaged, burnt by laboratory accidents, in prison via some horrible mix up or accident, etc etc etc. believe me,it happens every day. Somehow you have got to find a balence, moderate your drug use if you dont want to stop using, keep your friends close, support each other in your drug use, make a pact that you will always help each other and not let each other down in a crisis. All these things can help. Hang in there Lacie, being 14 sucks for most people, but it does get better. You have the best experiences of your life still to come!! The times you will have in your teens and twenties will be the best ever -look forward to all that, you deserve a life kiddo! Do write again if you wana chat, Much love and respect, BP xx

      Reply
  11. grace

     /  March 23, 2013

    my 28 yr old daughter has taken 3 drug overdoses in 30 days to try and kill herself this last time she had some real bad seizures in the er and her heart rate was 208 it scared the hell out of me she is now in mental health place will she have more seizures now that she had one? she said her hand writing is not the same now is that normal?

    Reply
    • Hi Grace, Im sorry for the delay it must have been a terrifying time for you all. A lot of what triggers seizures in drug users is basically hitting what is called ‘ a seizure threshold’. Everyone has one and the toxicity levels that are reached when using drugs vary from person to person but it appears seizures will occur when a person hits what is essentially a toxic overload -or days of ‘overkill’ ie – pushing your body over days to its limits. It is essential, if you are having seizures that are connected to your drug use ie that you get a seizure in the hours or minutes after using drugs, that you look very closely at the drugs you are using, and what you are doing in the hours and days leading up to it, and whether you get any feelings, ‘auras’ or warnings before hand. It is important that you get to now what your triggers are, and to keep with you one or two 5-10mg benzodiazipine (ie like clobazam or valium) that you should take on the days you are feeling very fragile. This of course wont help you when you, as in your daughters case, has taken a large/overdose amount of drugs. It is important she knows that self induced overdoses very often can trigger a seizure as the brain reaches toxicity levels -and seizures im afraid can kill. It is a type of brain damage so people who consistently get seizures may find they lose some memory or other functions. But saying that Im not sure why she cant write, it maybe that you need to look this up – there is a great deal of information out there on seizures, less on drug induced seizures although the results are very similar. Again tho, i should stress that the more you have seizures (grand mal is usually the type to be associated with drug use) the more you become suseptible to having another, so if you can find a way to avoid them either through not using in the same way any more (being much more careful and knowing your ‘triggers’ (like heavy alcohol, opiates or coke use, or injecting etc) and then heading a seizure off at the pass by a benzo when you feel overly fragile, you can turn things around and start to have large gaps of time in between seizures – the longer the better. Most of us grow out of them as we age into our late 30′s and 40′s. Regarding your daughter – and please, we are not Drs here, but if her seizures were directly related to her ODs, then it is unlikely she will get them again when just living normally. However if she is a regular drug user – she MAY find her ‘seizure threshold’ has dropped somewhat and it is a bit easier for her to now experience a seizure when using drugs again. I recommend doing research, having a couple of benzodiazipines handy (this is exactly what they give you in hospital during a seizure and to help avoid them) and I would say (tho again im not a dr -that her handwriting will come back to normal -if it doesnt she may well need a neurological exam. ALWAYS call an ambulance for 1st time seizures and those which last more than 4or5 minutes AND especially those which happen repeatedly one after the other – these are the most dangerous and can be fatal. It is also crucial to learn what to do when someone has a seizure so you can help and prevent further problems. We wish you the very best and do let your daughter know we are here if she wants to write in,
      Erin and BP x

      Reply
  12. Tom

     /  December 3, 2012

    Hi I don’t normally take drugs but on the week end I took 8 ecstasy pills and 4 lines of meow I was just really fucked then the next night I woke up in the middle of the night and had a fit its the frist time this has ever happened, I have just turned 17 as well I was just wondering if I need to worrie ?

    Reply
    • HI,
      First please let me apologise for the delay in responding. We try to answer on the blog but it isnt always instant. Did you have a look at our page on drug induced seizures? If you go to our home page on this blog, click ‘A-Z of Health’ and under that you will see an article entitled ‘Drug Induced Seizures’. It seems every person has a ‘seizure threshold’ -and at the age of 17 -you can be very vulnerable to finding out just where your ‘threshold or limit’ is. First tho, it is important to see your DR – to check out nothing else is going on like epilepsy, for example or an illness or disease. But by the sounds of it it sounds (but please we are NOT doctors) like overkill. Too many drugs, crazy nite/s out, little food probably, pushing it with the stimulants. Perfect set up for a seizure. But PLEASE read the article – because once they have started up – you do become more susceptible, so you have to learn to listen to your body, get to recognise your limits, and tell your friends what to do if you or each other do fit from overkill. good luck and please dont hesitate to reply. take it easy. Make sure you EAT BEFORE you go out. Dont take E after E after E. Read up on some E article especially about dose. The more you take – well it dont work as great and neurologically speaking, your brain prefers less xtc and much more spread out over an evening. IT has happened to me to so i feel your pain. 2mg or 5mg of valium is an excellent way to head off a seizure if your feeling fragile – but NOT after drinking or opiates if you dont know WELL your tolerance. Good luck friend.

      Reply
      • gwlees

         /  March 25, 2013

        So nice and wise of you to give advice on how to take drugs “better”….keep up the good work! :(

      • lisa

         /  December 12, 2013

        Hello.
        ive takin up to 20+ eccies in 9ne night no seizier. Shot up speed and after the second night of no sleep or food my hands start contracting, I had no idea what was going on but I had a big drink of water and forced down a piece of bread and it went away. It also happened after a massive nite on the grog but as soon as I had a feed and relaxed it went away. Quite recently I had a big nite, I shot up speed and tried cocain, (and had a lot), the next day my hands, arms and legs went all stiff tight and contracted, I tried to stay calm, tried to walk around a bit, my hubby got me some food and water (as hard as it was to eat) it worked, not doin coke anymore as I think it is worse for me then speed. Was def from over indulging without food or water.

  13. Concerned

     /  November 16, 2012

    Hi I have a boyfriend who has just now started back on heroine and I’m really worried about him bc he had a seizure the night after he did it … Is it possible that that’s what caused it ?

    Reply
  14. Hello, I am a seventeen year old male who overdosed on Tramadol (opiate) and had a Grand Mal seizure. Will I have one again with no drug use? I am very frightened for my future, please reply.

    Reply
    • Hi Austin, im so very sorry for the late reply, I really am. I understand how scary it is, ive been through the process myself. Firstly you need to have an MRI or brain scan just to see if you have actual epilepsy. Its important to know this. BUT it could certainly be from the tramadol -using constantly over a period of a fair few months and sometimes just not eating, sleeping, using a lot of downers so you blood pressure really drops to low …learn to know what ‘triggers’ the. Write down what happened the few days before it happened. Also, you can be prescribed short acting (I think?) benzos, and they are very useful whenever you feel fragile like you might have a seizure. Dont go mad of course but just 5 – 10 mg would do it, once or twice a day. Now the less seizures you have, the less you will begin to have so it seems. So the more you dont look after yourself kinda thing, and the more fits you have (sometimes they become directly connected to fixing – stimulants or depressants -one can get very susceptible to them; dont leave it – as for micro doses of benzos -say you dont want anything like phenobarbitone that are way to strong and are not for you if you dont have diagnosed epilepsy etc. Write down your triggers, and head the seizures off at the pass with a muscle relaxant like a type of valium etc. so sorry for delay, let us know how you got on. in Solidarity,
      BPx

      Reply
  15. Mark

     /  February 26, 2012

    can u experience an aura for 2hr before having a seizure

    Reply
    • Hi, Im so sorry to reply so late, I actually replied earlier but it got stuck in my phone! Grr! Anyway, re your question…Auras usually happen seconds before a seizure, perhaps a couple of minutes at most, and from what I have researched you could also have one hours before a seizure and you can certainly ‘feel’ very vulnerable or afraid; Seizures that happen to people who use drugs could be from a lot of reasons as our article suggests, and although auras tend to happen more to people who get partial seizures, they can happen to drug users too. Feelings of de ja vu, fear, vulnerability etc could also due to other things like perhaps lowered blood pressure, (perhaps from lack of sleep, a lot of opiates, lack of food, vitamins, or after days on stimulants, etc). It could be more to do with recognising your ‘triggers’. What was happening in the hours before your ‘aura’. were you under the same or similar sort of strains you were when you had your last aura or seizure? It is interesting also that auras will also happen in the same order each time, so they get to be recognisable and it is important to recognise them to help you ensure you get somewhere safe, or to alert you to taking meds. A valium or benzodiazipine can be a terrific tablet to have for the drug user that gets the occaisional seizure as it can effectively head it off at the pass. (Note that benzos have a high addiction potential and so should be used with real caution). Please know however, Im not a doctor however we do try and research things very comprehensively. If you know of anything different however, we are always keen to hear more. Thanks for writing. here is some more interesting info on auras; http://www.epilepsy.com/EPILEPSY/AURAS

      Reply
  1. Chris Brown seizure, what caused it? | Celebrity Feast
  2. Drug Induced Seizures « Black Poppy's Junk Mail

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