There may have been a time when you or someone you know had a little too much fun. Consuming a large amount of alcohol might have affected parts of your memory from the night before. Perhaps you can’t remember events like how you got home, or what you did to be the “life of the party.” If you have experienced something similar to this, chances are you’ve probably blacked out from alcohol. 

Have you ever wondered what causes a blackout from alcohol? This resource will go over what exactly is a blackout, the cause, signs, symptoms, and treatments for alcohol abuse. 

Anyone can blackout from alcohol, whether they have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or not. If you or a loved one may have a drinking problem and experience blackouts regularly, help is available. At Healthy Life Recovery, our alcohol treatment center offers individualized treatment programs to overcome your addiction.

What Does It Mean To Blackout?

Alcohol-related memory loss can be referred to as a blackout. They occur most commonly from drinking too much alcohol, and especially with binge drinking. 

Binge drinking is when a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches 0.15. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, this usually occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 for men – in about 2 hours. For comparison purposes, it is against the law to drive in the United States with a BAC of 0.08.

The hippocampus is a part of the brain that plays an essential role in forming memories. When you participate in excessive drinking, this part of the brain essentially turns off.

A person does not become unconscious when they experience a blackout, just like falling asleep. In fact, when you experience blacking out, you may appear and act coherent and normal. You can do things that sober people do, such as prepare and eat food, get dressed, or start arguments. However, your brain will not be recording any memories of these activities during an alcohol-induced blackout.

The brain will process memories normally again once the person begins to sober up.

It can be hard to recognize if you’re having a blackout. Blackouts can lead to dangerous and risky behavior. For example, driving yourself home, destroying property, spending too much money, or engaging in a sexual encounter. People who experience a complete blackout are also at higher risk to physically injure themselves.

They can last a few minutes or a few hours. Both males and females, young or old, can experience them.

Side Effects And More

This worst part of a blackout is the possibility of passing out. This happens when the amount of alcohol consumed was too much, and choking or vomiting may occur. Passing out can be harmful if a person falls and experiences an injury. They may also suffer from a seizure from the amount of alcohol they consumed.

If a person is exhibiting strange, risky behavior, or passes out while consuming alcohol, they may need medical attention. This can prevent them from alcohol poisoning complications.

Sometimes, people who experience something similar to a blackout but not as intense may be experiencing something called a “brownout.” In the event of a brownout some loss of memory occurs, but not all of it. Recalling events can be triggered when mentioned by another person that was there. 

A blackout generally does not mean that you have damaged your brain. However, long-term brain damage is a side effect of alcohol use. If a person builds a tolerance to alcohol and blacks out often from drinking, this can be harmful. They may show symptoms that mimic memory loss with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.


Signs and Symptoms of a Blackout

Due to the possibility of a person conducting themselves normally, it can be hard to tell if someone is experiencing a blackout. A person does not have to be blacked out to engage in risky, unusual behaviors, and remember them the next day. However, some of the following indications may make it clear that a person is experiencing a blackout, including:

  • Easily distracted
  • Repeating themselves often in a conversation
  • Forgetting where they are or what they were doing
  • Unable to hold a conversation
  • Appear concerned about thoughts or people around them
  • Participating in risky behaviors, they would not be when sober
  • Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time, with no water or food

Alcohol Rehab At Healthy Life Recovery

Participating in heavy drinking and experiencing a blackout does not mean that you have an AUD. Although, if this is a common occurrence, it may be time to seek addiction treatment. Substance abuse with alcohol can be a life-threatening disease and cause harmful effects on the body. 

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of this problem is crucial for recovery. Our drug and alcohol rehab center in San Diego can give you the tools you need to live up to your full potential. If you think you or someone you know abuses alcohol, give us a call today to start a new chapter.

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