Excessive alcohol use comes with several serious risks, including alcoholism and serious, non-addicted alcohol abuse. They also include the possibility of developing alcohol poisoning. In addition, you may drink enough to become blackout drunk. An alcohol blackout can endanger your health in multiple ways. You can black out even if you’re not affected by diagnosable drinking problems. However, you may need alcohol addiction treatment to reduce your exposure to this serious health issue.
What Happens to a Person Who Is Blackout Drunk?
An alcohol blackout is a gap in your memory triggered by high levels of alcohol in your bloodstream. Most people are at-risk for a blackout when their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, reaches or exceeds 0.16%. This BAC level is twice the threshold for legal drunkenness in the U.S.
How can extreme drunkenness cause you to black out? The root of the issue is alcohol’s effects on an area of your brain called the hippocampus. This area plays a central role in your ability to turn short-term memories into long-term memories. Extreme intoxication can temporarily prevent the hippocampus from doing its job. As a result, you experience gaps in your memory that correspond to the time you were intoxicated.
Compared to men, women are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. This effect is true, in part, because the average woman has less body mass than the average man. However, the way in which women process alcohol is also a factor. Together, these differences help explain why women tend to be at higher risk for alcohol blackouts.
Blackout Drunk Symptoms
On the surface, an alcohol blackout may sound similar to the act of passing out while drinking. However, there are clear differences between these two drinking-related events. When you pass out, you either fall asleep or lose consciousness.
In stark contrast, you don’t do either of these things while blackout drunk. You remain awake and active. But despite this fact, your brain stops forming new memories. Blackout drunk symptoms may either partially or completely disrupt your memory. After a partial blackout, you will recall pieces or fragments of what happened to you while drunk. But after a complete blackout, you won’t remember anything at all.
Dangers of Blacking Out While Drinking
Many of the dangers of blacking out while drinking are related to your blood alcohol level. With a BAC of 0.16%, you may experience issues such as:
- Loss of your normal body balance
- Impaired muscle control
In many cases, people who black out are engaged in a practice called binge drinking. This practice is when someone drinks enough to get legally drunk in no more than a couple of hours. The long list of harms associated with alcohol binging includes:
- Accidental injuries
- Alcohol poisoning
- Increased chances of committing violence or being exposed to it
- Higher odds of committing sexual assault or being exposed to it
Repeated episodes of blackout drinking can also lead to more serious problems with your memory. In addition, they may be a warning sign of existing or oncoming alcohol addiction.
Learn More About the Risks of Getting Blackout Drunk at Women’s Recovery
Are you or someone you love affected by alcohol blackouts? Talk to the professionals at Women’s Recovery. We understand women’s unique risks for this serious problem. We also understand what it takes to lower your risks and stay healthy.
Women’s Recovery specializes in alcohol treatment plans specifically designed for women. We also further customize these plans to fit your unique recovery needs. For more information on how we can help, call us today at 833.754.0554 or fill out our online contact form.