The Danger of Alcohol Blackouts

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Alcohol abuse can be a frightening and damaging habit. Many shows and movies, such as The Hangover and Shameless, glorify the symptoms of alcoholism. However, its effects are long-lasting. One of the most jarring effects of alcohol is blackouts. Blackouts indicate that one’s alcohol consumption has reached damaging levels. Many don’t know the cause of blackouts and, even when experiencing them, don’t investigate their causes further. This article discusses the science behind blackouts, how they can be harmful, and how to seek recovery.

What Is an Alcohol Blackout?

A blackout is a type of alcohol-induced memory gap, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. During a blackout, a person is still awake, but their brain is not creating any new memories. Depending on how much a person consumes, it is possible to lose consciousness (or “pass out”) after having a blackout. However, the two things are not the same. While others around them may not notice a person has blacked out, they will stop taking in new experiences. They may still act as they did before with seeming cognizance.

The effects of blackouts can range from mild confusion to more severe long-term problems. This can potentially include permanent memory loss and trouble with recalling information. If left unchecked, chronic drinking and blackouts can lead to alcohol use disorder (AUD). Conversely, AUD may be present before reaching blackouts.

Repeated blackouts can have serious repercussions if left untreated and can require medical intervention or rehabilitation. A few serious consequences include legal problems, physical injury, and long-term negative health outcomes.

What Causes Alcohol Blackouts?

According to Alcohol Research & Health, social drinkers frequently have memory loss episodes, which can include forgetting discussions and intimate details. The interruption of hippocampal activity, which is crucial for the creation of new memories, is the mechanism behind alcohol-induced memory deficits.

In addition to alcoholism, the act of social drinking can often be the cause of blacking out. Many people find that they may not drink for weeks at a time, but when they get with a group of friends, they binge on several drinks at once. This quick intake of alcohol quickly triggers the brain to protect itself and causes the symptoms of a blackout.

A blackout is the body’s way of defending itself from the binge drinking that is occurring. It is an attempt to get the body to stop ingesting alcohol. These blackouts start sooner and sooner the more you binge drink. The brain is slowly shutting down the system one sense at a time. However, when blacking out, you can still unknowingly consume more alcohol.

The Danger of Alcohol Blackouts

Blackouts caused by alcohol are very serious occurrences that should not be ignored. College students and young adults who frequently blackout are more likely to have other alcohol-related consequences, such as missing work or school, having a worse grade-point average, getting hurt, being arrested, or needing to go to the emergency room. A person can easily damage themselves physically when they are not cognizant of the way they are moving through their surroundings. Additionally, even a single blackout should be taken as a warning to reassess one’s relationship with alcohol.

If someone continues to drink till they black out, they are not only endangering themselves, but they are putting others at risk as well. While a person may not remember their actions, people around them do. Many people don’t recall conversations they had with their partner or friends that ended up being painful for both parties. They may end up making decisions that ultimately damage relationships or, worse, destroy them. This can bleed into their job and finances. Alcohol damage has far-reaching effects.

Finding Solutions for Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is an extremely serious issue. While it may be portrayed as fun and light-hearted in media, it is a path that can destroy one’s future happiness. If you are finding that you are binge drinking and continually blacking out, you need to decide to get help. This starts with recognizing that you have an issue, then deciding how to seek treatment.

The best solution to alcohol abuse is to seek help from a rehabilitation program. First Steps Recovery is an excellent source of help for those suffering from alcohol addiction. At First Steps Recovery, you will receive support, guidance, and care that will help you make positive changes in your life and begin the journey to sobriety.

We offer various types of treatment programs, such as detoxification, counseling, support groups, and aftercare services. Guiding you every step of the way, we can help you reclaim your sobriety. This can save your relationships, job, and life. Take the signs seriously. If you believe you are struggling with alcohol abuse, please reach out. It could make all the difference.

Alcohol is a pervasive substance that can take over your life. When you reach the bottom of substance use, experiencing blackouts and memory loss, it’s time to choose recovery. We at First Steps Recovery are aware of what people going through addiction recovery need. We provide for all of our patient’s emotional and physical needs in addition to their medical demands. Every new client who takes a step toward long-term sobriety enters our facilities in a state of readiness. We want to see you free from the pain and devastation that addiction brings. Make the decision for a better future. For more information on how we may assist you, contact First Steps Addiction at (844) 489-0836.

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