An estimated 2 million people may experience alcohol withdrawal every year, according to a 2004 study in the journal American Family Physician. People can develop a tolerance to (or dependence on) alcohol, and the wiring in their brains can reflect that. So when some people quit cold turkey, it leaves their brains in a new, altered state that can set them up for a seizure, usually within 48 hours after their last drink, Rao said.
Antidepressants like bupropion (a.k.a. Wellbutrin and Zyban) have been associated with seizures in certain studies. And some antibiotics, like penicillins and quinolones, and pain medications like tramadol (sold under the brand name Ultram) might increase the risk of seizures too.
Too-little sleep is a powerful trigger for seizures, Rao said. (He’s seen seizures in college students who’ve stayed up for days in a row cramming for an exam.)
“No one knows the exact reason behind this,” Rao said, “but sleep is restorative. We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, so we know it’s important.”