An alcohol-induced blackout can happen when a person drinks a lot of alcohol or drink alcohol too fast. Blackouts can cause long-term damage. High levels of alcohol impair the part of the brain that forms new memories.
A blackout is characterized as amnesia during intoxication. Drinking affects the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain responsible for forming new memories. A person does not forget what happened when he or she has a blackout because the memories never existed in the first place. According to Constance Scharff, Ph.D. on the danger of blackout drinking for Psychology Today (2014), drinking alcohol will reduce the ability for the hippocampus to function properly, helping to explain why blackouts stifle the creation of memories.
Not everyone who drinks rapidly and excessively will have a blackout. Some people are more susceptible to alcohol-induced memory impairment. Many people with alcoholism experience blackouts in the early part of addiction. Alcohol poisoning and blackouts are very harmful and lead to serious mental and physical impairment.
If a person experiences a blackout once, he or she is at risk of having more blackouts. Most people who consume large amounts of alcohol will develop memory problems and brain damage. A person can have a genetic predisposition to blackouts. His or her family members might have trouble with alcohol or alcoholism.
A person who experiences a blackout can still have the ability to maintain language and motor skills. An article on blackouts written by Annamarya Scaccia for Healthline indicates that during a blackout, the person may seem articulate because most parts of the brain are alcohol-tolerant. They can still eat, walk, hold conversations, have sex, drive, and get into fights. They just cannot record any of the memories.
Blackouts are dangerous because when a person is drunk, he or she is at risk of making poor decisions such as driving or having unprotected sex. Over time, drinking alcohol can damage vital organs. Excessive drinking can cause liver failure, a heart attack, and severe brain damage or even an early death.
If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, do not wait to get help. Although there is no cure for addiction, there is hope in recovery. Get help today.
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