What Happens To People During Blackouts From Alcohol?

When a person consumes alcohol, their brain goes through a number of changes as the BAC (blood alcohol content) level gradually rises. Once a person enough alcohol has been ingested, the risk of “blacking out” also starts to grow.

When a person officially blacks out from drinking too much alcohol, the brain will somewhat or entirely fail at creating long term memories. This can be incredibly dangerous because it can lead to destroyed friendships and relationships, assault on a physical or sexual level, injury, and even death.

What Happens to the Brain During a Blackout?

In simple terms, a significant amount of alcohol consumption can cause amnesia, or a loss of memory over a certain period of time. When a blackout occurs, a person is experiencing amnesia induced by alcohol, and during this time, their brain is incapable of forming memories that can be later remembered over a long term.

Once the individual regains their memory, usually by the next day, they will likely have no recollection of anything that occurred after a certain point while they were drinking. Sometimes, they might even wake up in places that are unfamiliar to them, or with people they don’t know or can’t remember.

When a person experiences a partial blackout, or when they can still recall fragments of a drunken episode, this is commonly referred to as a brownout.

Studies have shown time and time again that a person’s memory can be affected from even just a couple of alcoholic drinks. As the person consumes more alcohol, their memory is more severely compromised. Once a person reaches a BAC level of roughly 0.15%, they are at a heightened risk for experiencing a blackout. If this level reaches .20%, it is highly likely a blackout will occur. A number of factors can impact a person’s likelihood to black out including:

  • Weight
  • Sex
  • Level of food consumption prior to and during the alcohol consumption
  • Genetics
  • The speed at which the individual is drinking

What Happens Around a Person During a Blackout?

When a person blacks out from consuming too much alcohol, they may not later recall the things that occurred during that time. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the person was incapable of making decisions while they were blackout-drunk, either. Certain things might occur during a blackout episode including:

  • Arguments and fighting
  • Spending money
  • Experiencing sexual or physical assault
  • Having unprotected and/or unwanted sex
  • Damage to property
  • Injury
  • Death

Does Getting Blackout Drunk Make Me an Alcoholic?

There are plenty of researchers, scientists, and healthcare professionals who are firm believers that getting blackout drunk is a warning sign for dependency. While blacking out from drinking excessively is a theme that’s not too uncommon in college/party life, experiencing it repeatedly is enough to raise questions over what is happening at the molecular, physical, and mental level in the body.

Addiction is a very real and serious problem that often goes unnoticed until it has become extremely pronounced and complex. This is especially true in today’s society where alcohol is a common staple in practically every aspect of the western lifestyle. What might seem like a harmless weekend activity to you could actually be fueling a growing dependency that has the potential to eventually wreak havoc on all aspects of your life.

When It’s Time for Treatment

When you struggle with alcohol addiction, your life revolves around supporting the dependency and ensuring that it is sated at all times. As a result, your job, school life, relationships, and quality of life all suffer and fall by the wayside. At some points, it might even feel like you can barely hold your life together due to the addiction’s influence and power. The good news is that there is simply no addiction that is too powerful to be treated. There will always be hope and help waiting around the corner, should you choose to accept it.

Sometimes, it can even be a struggle for people to determine whether or not they are suffering from an addiction in the first place. As a rule of thumb, these are common signs of alcohol dependency:

  • Frequent blackouts or brownouts
  • Constantly having to “clean up” after mistakes made during a drunken episode
  • Agitation/anxiety from not having a drink for a certain period of time
  • Inability to quit drinking, even when it’s overly apparent you need to do so
  • A tolerance level that seems to get higher each time you drink
  • Avoiding situations that won’t involve alcohol
  • Problems at work due to drinking
  • Concerned family and friends who have spoken out about their concern

Seeking Help with Addiction

The idea of getting an alcohol addiction under control via “cold turkey” methods or alternative means seems enticing, especially in a society where independence is so heavily sought after and encouraged. However, as human beings, not everything can be effectively approached without guidance. There is no shame in requesting the help of others with something as complex as addiction.

The truth is that quitting alcohol suddenly can be an extremely dangerous health hazard for people who have strong alcohol dependencies. The withdrawal symptoms for alcohol can sometimes be so severe that nausea, heart palpitations, heightened blood pressure, hallucinations, and even seizures are possible. Simply put, an effort to stop drinking should only ever be made in a medical facility that offers a safe detox program.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of alcohol addiction, the only answer is to seek treatment. Once a person enters an official program for treatment and therapy, only then can the process toward true recovery actually begin.

Don’t let addiction maintain control over your life for another string of weeks, months, or even years. Regain control over your life by choosing recovery. Contact us at Coastal Detox by calling 877-978-3125

Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

    Travis B. Avatar
    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

    Brandon B. Avatar
    Brandon B.
    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

    Brenda A. Avatar
    Brenda A.
    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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