There is a noticeable difference between someone who is having a few social drinks with friends and a person who is binge drinking alcohol. A number of different physical symptoms tend to appear when someone is binge drinking such as stumbling, slurred speech and blacking out. These are typically signs that their alcohol consumption has gone past a normal social level.
When someone is blackout drunk, it can actually be very harmful to their health. Blacking out essentially means that the person has consumed so much alcohol that their brain can’t release neurotransmitters that are responsible for creating and organizing memories. This is why when people become blackout drunk they often can’t remember details of things that took place or their memory of the night before is mostly a blur.
Even though a person’s inability to remember a drunk night can seem funny at times, it can actually become a very dangerous habit. Repeatedly blacking out can lead to changes in the brain’s functioning over time and can be damaging for a person’s memory. In many cases, frequent blackouts are also considered a key sign and symptom of alcoholism.
Effects and Symptoms of Blacking Out
Someone who gets blackout drunk is causing serious damage to their health both in the short term and long term. The short term effects of blacking out can be noticeable to others in many cases but the alcohol user may not be aware of them as they are happening. When someone is blackout drunk they might engage in risky behavior or get involved in things that can lead to injury, conflict or trouble with the law.
When a person is blackout drunk they may seem easily distracted and will quickly forget things as soon as they occur. They may repeat themselves often in conversation, forgetting what they just said and will lose the thread of the conversation easily. They also lose their inhibitions and will start doing risky things that they wouldn’t normally do when they are sober.
The long term effects of blacking out repeatedly can lead to changes in the brain and issues with memory. In many cases, a person who has experienced frequent blackouts will have more general memory loss even when they are not intoxicated. They will have a hard time forming new memories of recent events because of the changes in their brain.
Alcoholism and Blacking Out
One of the main issues with repeated blackouts, aside from the negative physical effects is that they are often associated with alcoholism. A person who blacks out repeatedly or almost every time that they drink may have problems controlling their intake or may be a binge drinker. A person who binge drinks heavily on a regular basis is much more likely to have an alcohol use disorder.
Blacking out can become especially dangerous as a person’s tolerance begins to grow each time they heavily consume alcohol. It will take more and more alcohol for them to get to their normal level of intoxication during which they usually blackout. If they continue to drink to the point of blacking out they are at a greater risk for alcohol poisoning every time they drink.
Although blacking out can be one of the major signs of alcoholism, it does not always mean that the person has a disorder. However, if it is accompanied by a number of other different symptoms such as drinking alone, having intense cravings for alcohol, withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, lying about alcohol use, financial problems caused by drinking or other negative consequences then it can be considered a part of an issue with alcoholism. Blacking out frequently is an issue to consider if you are worried that you or someone you know has a serious alcohol problem.
Preventing Blackouts and Getting Treatment
For someone who occasionally experiences blackouts and doesn’t believe that they have a problem with alcohol, there are certain tactics that can help them avoid the damage caused by blacking out. Drinking plenty of water between beverages and waiting for a while before having another drink can help minimize the chances of blacking out. You need to stay hydrated and give your body time to metabolize the alcohol.
It is also important to make sure you eat enough before drinking so that you aren’t consuming alcohol on an empty stomach which can cause the alcohol to have a stronger effect. One of the easiest ways to avoid blacking out however is to simply drink less or don’t drink at all. If you can give yourself a maximum of a couple drinks and don’t go beyond that then you can avoid blacking out.
In cases where a person finds it difficult or even impossible to avoid getting blackout drunk then the best choice will be to try to remain abstinent. If you believe that your blackouts are related to an alcohol disorder then it is important to get professional treatment as soon as possible.