Alcohol is everywhere you turn. Almost every restaurant serves alcohol. Most of your family and friends probably drink. And, plenty of social gatherings are designed around the consumption of alcohol. The high production of alcohol, marketing techniques, and general cultural acceptance of this drug have created a society of recreational drinkers. Unfortunately, many of these “social drinkers” don’t just have a glass of wine with dinner and go home. Instead, they drink until they experience memory blackouts.

While blacking out from over-consuming alcohol is something every fraternity boy may experience during college, it’s not something that should be regularly experienced. And, if you do experience regular memory blackouts, it could be a sign that you’ve developed an addiction. In this article, we uncover what really happens during memory blackouts caused by alcohol. And, how they are a sign that may point toward the cycle of addiction.

What are Memory Blackouts?

If you’ve ever drank enough to wake up the next morning and not remember certain parts or even a few hours of the previous day/night, you’ve experienced an alcohol-induced blackout. This only happens when someone consumes mass amounts of alcohol, nearing levels of alcohol poisoning. While these can happen to anyone who over-drinks, it’s more common that alcoholics are affected by memory blackouts because they are more likely to consume mass amounts of alcohol in one sitting.
Blackouts occur because alcohol can disrupt the way the brain transmits signals which would normally result in forming memory. Basically, when neurons in the brain recognize alcohol, they create proteins which may block other neurons from sending information which leads to the creation of memory. During a memory blackout, an individual may feel fine, yet not remember moments or even hours the following day.

Types of Memory Blackouts

There are actually two types of alcohol-induced blackouts. The first, fragmentary blackouts, are characterized by:

  • Lesser amounts of alcohol induced in one sitting
  • Forgetting while intoxicated of things like names, subjects of conversation, and direction
  • Remembering moments of unconsciousness the following day when reminded

The second type of memory blackout induced by alcohol is known as the complete or en blanc blackout. These are characterized by:

  • Being able to carry out functions and recall memory, yet act unlike oneself
  • Although conscious during blackout, unable to remember anything the following day
  • Not able to remember what happened or what was said even if reminded

How Can You Prevent Blackouts?

Blackouts aren’t fun. It’s not enjoyable hearing those you care about hold you accountable for things you may have said or done you can’t even remember. Not to mention, memory blackouts are often paired with dehydration and painful hangovers. The only sure way to prevent a memory blackout caused by alcohol is to not drink. Memory blackouts aren’t necessarily a sign of alcoholism, but they are definitely a sign of alcohol abuse. If you’re a drinker, experience memory blackouts, and continue to abuse alcohol to the point of not being able to remember things, you could be struggling with alcoholism. One of the signs of addiction is experiencing the consequences of addiction and continuing to use.

If you or someone you love experiences common memory blackouts as a result of over-drinking and is struggling with addiction, help is available. Fortunately, with treatment, you can gain your memory back. And, you won’t have to worry about saying or doing things you don’t remember ever again! To see how The Lily Pad of St. Augustine can help with your addiction recovery journey, give us a call today at 561-758-1011.