What is an Alcohol Blackout?

An alcohol blackout is a temporary form of amnesia during alcohol consumption. There are two forms of an alcohol blackout. One is called fragmentary (also called brownouts) during which moments of time are forgotten. The other type is called en bloc which is amnesia for much longer periods of time. There is an area of the brain called the hippocampus that has to do with memory formation. Alcohol consumption interferes with receptors that carry signals between neurons. Alcohol prevents some receptors from working while activating others.

Usually during an alcohol blackout people are not on their best behavior. Driving a car or entering into a temporary relationship with the opposite sex which can open a can of worms no one wants to deal with. We are in a time in history where unprotected sex can have catastrophic results. How many times has someone used the excuse “I was drunk” when trying to get themselves out of hot water. My experience is that excuse never works.

Women are more apt to have blackouts than men. They have less water in their systems, their blood alcohol levels increase faster and they metabolize alcohol slower than men. Unfortunately they also have more explaining to do than men. Even though women for the most part are thought equal to men, there is still the thought that mothers and wives should act a certain way.

Not everyone is prone to having blackouts and there are ways to keep from having them. It is important to have a full stomach during alcohol consumption. Drinking slower will help as well because the more we drink the higher the chance of a blackout occurring. If you have had a blackout there is higher chance of having another one.

I have never had a blackout and the thought of having one has actually kept me from drinking at times during my active alcoholism. I guess it is a chance we take when we take that first drink?

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