Having Alcohol Blackouts? Here are the Possible Causes and Solutions
Have you ever gone out for a night with friends, had one too many drinks, and woken up the next day with no recollection of how you made it home? If so, you’re not alone.
Not only can having alcohol blackouts be alarming, but it can lead to other alcohol-related health issues too. Avoiding alcohol blackouts is important to staying healthy and protecting yourself from other harmful diseases.
If you find yourself experiencing alcohol blackouts, there are a few things you should know. Let’s take a look at what causes alcohol blackouts and how you can avoid them.
What Constitutes an Alcohol Blackout?
Alcohol blackouts are, thankfully, temporary conditions. These episodes affect your memory. They’re characterized by a sense that you’ve lost time or by “glitches” in your memory.
These blackouts happen when you have too much alcohol in the body. The reason for this is that alcohol impairs your body’s ability to create and store new memories.
Different people are affected by alcohol differently. That means that not everyone will experience blackouts. A few factors that affect this include:
- A person’s weight
- How quickly someone consumed alcohol
- The type of alcohol a person consumed
- A person’s gender
Thanks to the way our bodies differ, everyone will experience the effects of alcohol differently. Plus, the particular situation will also affect this.
How Long Do Alcohol Blackouts Last?
A blackout will end when your body burns the alcohol. Once there is no more alcohol in the bloodstream, your brain can start to form memories again.
Many people find that sleep helps stop blackouts. This is because it lets the body process the alcohol and recovers from its effects.
Some people don’t need to sleep off a blackout, however. They can digest the alcohol while they are awake. The result is that blackouts can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.
Almost all people recover from alcohol blackouts. However, they can prove fatal in certain cases.
What Are Some Different Blackout Causes?
There are several different factors that can affect an alcohol blackout. Each of these factors can cause you to experience either a partial or complete blackout.
Common reasons why people experience alcohol blackouts include:
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach
- Drinking alcohol too quickly
- A person’s physiology
Each of these causes, as we stated earlier, can either lead to one of two types of blackouts. Those blackouts are known as either a complete blackout or a partial blackout.
In a partial blackout, you may be able to recall events with verbal or visual cues. Complete blackouts, however, lead to permanent memory loss.
Who Is Most Likely to Experience an Alcohol Blackout?
Some people are more likely to experience alcohol than others. For one, middle-aged men who struggle with alcoholism are at high risk for blackouts.
Another at-risk group is young adults in colleges. This is mostly due to social pressure and situations rather than physiology.
What’s more, women are more prone to blackouts than men. This has a lot to do with the way that women’s bodies process alcohol as opposed to men’s bodies.
People who take sedatives such as Xanax and OxyContin are also more likely to experience blackouts. These sedatives already impact the brain’s ability to make memories, and alcohol amplifies that effect.
How Does a Blackout Affect the Body?
Alcohol affects the body in a few different ways. This is based on the levels of intoxication and the amount of time a person is abusing alcohol. Typically, these can be divided into short-term and long-term effects.
Short-Term Effects of Blackouts
During a blackout, a person will still function fairly normally. They can still interact with others and make decisions, but they aren’t able to record the memories.
People may experience effects such as:
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty walking
- Delayed reactions
- Increased impulsiveness
- Poor decision-making
- Dry mouth
All of these symptoms are indicators that a person may be experiencing a blackout, even if they don’t realize it.
Long-Term Effects of Blackouts
What many people don’t realize about alcohol is that binge drinking can leave a lasting imprint on the brain. Some of these conditions are temporary, such as memory loss. Others, such as liver disease, are permanent.
Regularly drinking heavily can damage the frontal lobe. This can affect your ability to perform tasks, your ability to store information, your personality, and your general behavior.
While you may think it’s okay to have a blackout from time to time, this can actually be harmful in the long term. When you blackout, your gag reflex is hindered which could lead you to gag or choke in your sleep during a blackout.
On top of that, blackouts make you more prone to injury. You are more likely to fall or to get into a car accident when undergoing a blackout.
What Steps Can I Take to Avoid Alcohol Blackouts?
The good news is that there are several steps you can take toward avoiding alcohol blackouts. For one, you can choose to abstain from drinking altogether.
However, this isn’t entirely necessary. To manage blackouts, you can avoid binge drinking. Binge drinking is categorized as having four or more drinks in. a period of two hours for women or having five or more drinks for men.
You can also drink more slowly and drink in moderation. Try taking sips instead of gulps of alcohol to monitor how it affects your body.
Food and water can also help control blackouts. Eating a meal while drinking and pairing it with a glass of water can help prevent you from drinking too much.
Stay Healthy and Steer Clear of Alcohol Blackouts
There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks with friends if you can do it with impunity, but there’s a lot wrong with overdoing it. When you overdo it, you put your body at risk of experiencing alcohol blackouts and suffering permanent damage.
If alcohol blackouts are a common occurrence for you, it might be time to seek help. An alcohol recovery center such as Wellness Retreat Recovery Center can help you beat alcoholism for good. Contact us to learn more about our programs.