Copious quantities of alcohol, particularly if consumed quickly, can cause a blackout. Blackouts, also called alcohol-induced amnesia, cause a person to be unable to recall key details or entire events of the period when they were intoxicated. There are two types of blackouts: fragmentary and en bloc. Fragmentary blackouts are most common and occur when a person can remember bits and pieces of their time being intoxicated but cannot remember everything. En bloc blackouts occur when no memories can be recollected of the event. How do these things happen?
When alcohol is consumed too quickly, blood alcohol levels spike and the alcohol suppresses brain cells that direct the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is responsible for memory. Alcohol interferes with the transfer of information, affecting both short and long-term memory. Research has also shown that not only the amount of alcohol consumed and a person’s metabolism affect blackout outcomes; a person’s genes can also be a factor. Of course, blackouts can be very dangerous, and are not something to strive for. The following could occur while someone is experiencing a blackout:
- Violence/Sexual assault
- Alcohol overdose
- Dangerous drug use
A 2016 study conducted by researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) involved the assessment of 2,140 respondents who were a year out of high school to see if alcohol-related blackouts served as an effective risk marker for other alcohol related harms. Surveys were conducted and asked questions related to demographics, substance use behaviors, and more. The results indicated that blackouts were more prevalent among females who, in the past 30 days, used multiple drugs, engaged in binge drinking more frequently, and had lower body weight. Having a blackout was shown to predict other alcohol related problems such as missing class or work, getting behind in responsibilities, arguing with friends, doing something participants later regretted, experiencing an overdose, and more.
Alcohol-induced blackouts are very dangerous. They pose not only a health risk to those experiencing it and to others but can also negatively affect other key areas of life. If you’ve been struggling with alcoholism, make the decision to seek treatment today. You’re never too young or too old to seek help.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.