Seizures can result from exposure to lead, carbon monoxide, and many other poisons. They also can result from exposure to street drugs and from overdoses of antidepressants and other medications.
Mercury poisoning is known to cause severe seizures. In 1956 a Japanese factory dumped fertilizer containing high levels of mercury into Lake Minamata. People and animals who consumed the fish from the lake were poisoned by the mercury. The victims suffered from horrible seizures and often death.
Mercury poisoning linked to skin-lightening face cream
There is a black market for skin lightening creams that contain high levels of mercury. Often these creams are brought in from Mexico.
Seizures are often triggered by factors such as lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, stress, or hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle. These seizure triggers do not cause epilepsy but can provoke first seizures or cause breakthrough seizures in people who otherwise experience good seizure control with their medication.
Sleep deprivation in particular is a universal and powerful trigger of seizures. For this reason, people with epilepsy should make sure to get enough sleep and should try to stay on a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. Smoking cigarettes also can trigger seizures. The nicotine in cigarettes acts on receptors for the excitatory neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, which increases neuronal firing. Seizures are not triggered by sexual activity except in very rare instances.