Alcohol depresses the central nervous system by blocking the transfer of certain chemicals between different parts of the brain. Alcohol blackout, or short-term loss of memory caused by alcohol, occurs when the transfer of chemicals is interrupted before memories of the events leading to and during the blackout even have a chance to form. The drinker who experiences blackouts is actually functioning, albeit in an impaired manner, during the period that he or she does not remember.
Binge Drinking and Alcohol Blackout
“The drinker who experiences blackouts is actually functioning, albeit in an impaired manner, during the period that he or she does not remember.”Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time causes alcohol blackout, and the amount that causes blacking out differs according to factors such as body weight and tolerance for alcohol. When an alcoholic has built up a very high tolerance for alcohol, yet manages to ingest a sufficient quantity to cause alcohol blackout, it is a sign that the alcoholic has completely lost control over his or her alcohol use. Chances are that someone whose alcoholism has progressed to that stage experiences blackouts on a regular basis, as binge drinking, the term for drinking large amounts of alcohol over a short period of time, is the only way he or she can deal with increasing cravings for and dependence upon larger and larger quantities of alcohol.
Some alcoholics may even welcome an alcohol blackout, as even though they may want to quit drinking, they are physically dependent on alcohol and no longer able to do so. For alcoholics in this situation, the blackout is an escape from the misery that alcohol is causing in their daily lives.
If you or a loved one engages in binge drinking and experiences blackouts, please call our 24-hour help line at 1-800-861-9454 or fill out our contact form so that we can help find the right treatment that prevents the dangers of alcohol blackout by breaking the grip of alcoholism.
Dangers of Blackouts
Blackouts pose both short-term dangers and risks of long-term damage. Since the drinker is alert during the blackout, but often has lost any sense of inhibition due to the effects of rapid ingestion of large quantities of alcohol, he or she may engage in reckless and hazardous behavior. Such behavior can include everything from operating a motor vehicle, weapon or other potentially dangerous device while unable to exert control over its mechanisms, to physical assault and destruction of property. While a college student, who simply wants to prove his or her drinking ability, may black out at a party or social event, where friends can prevent him or her from self-destructive behavior, an alcoholic may well experience alcoholic blackout while drinking alone, out of view of those from whom alcoholism must be hidden. An alcoholic in such a situation could well jump from a window, or drive off in his or her car and cause an accident, or simply fall down a flight of stairs and end up badly injured.
Seeking Treatment for Binge Drinking and Alcohol Blackout
“Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time causes alcohol blackout…”In some cases, the recovery from alcohol starts only after such an incident of inadvertent self-harm as an alcoholic finally realizes that he or she must seek treatment in order to prevent further self-destruction. In other cases, the aftermath of the alcohol blackout is so devastating that it causes permanent disability or is fatal.
Even if a habitual binge drinker escapes the short-term hazards of blacking out, he or she will rarely escape the long-term effects of drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time. The most well-known of these long-term effects is liver damage. The human liver is simply unable to process large amounts of alcohol, and its function becomes impaired, eventually causing severe and chronic conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver, for which the only treatment is often a liver transplant.
Binge drinking followed by alcohol blackout is a cause for concern if it occurs on a regular basis, and if it occurs after the ingestion of extremely large quantities of alcohol. Both of these factors are signs of alcoholism that has reached a point at which the alcoholic can no longer satisfy his or her cravings without drinking extremely harmful quantities of alcohol.
Call for Help
If you or your loved one must drink to the point of experiencing blackouts on a regular basis, please call our 24-hour hotline at 1-800-861-9454 or fill out our contact form. We will assist you in finding alcohol rehabilitation programs that protect against the hazards of alcoholic blackout by putting an end to dependency on alcohol.