Alcohol and Blacking Out
What is Alcohol Blacking Out
While getting “blackout drunk” may be associated with a party lifestyle, blacking out is a dangerous consequence of high-risk alcohol consumption.
And this situation may be more common than you think.
Research indicates that nearly 15 million Americans are coping with alcohol use disorder, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that, in 2012, 6.8 percent of the population was dependent on alcohol.
While some people assume that “blacking out” means that someone has become unconscious, the reality can be even more dangerous.
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Understanding Alcohol Blacking Out
A blackout involves memory loss due to alcohol abuse.
However, those who are experiencing a blackout are often able to continue interacting with others.
Depending on their tolerance level, these people may appear “normal” and may seem able to continue making decisions.
These individuals may hold conversations, participate in sexual behavior, drive cars, get into arguments, and engage in other activities without any memory of their actions.
Blacking out is especially common among those who engage in “binge drinking” and often occurs when a person’s blood alcohol content reaches 0.15.
According to the CDC, binge drinking occurs when men consume five or more drinks, or women consume four or more drinks in 2 hours.
And while some may associate this type of behavior with college students, it is found in all society segments.
One in six U.S. adults participates in binge drinking about four times a month, consuming an average of seven drinks per binge, which equates to at least 467 binge drinks consumed every year by binge drinkers.
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Effects and Abuse of Alcohol
Binge drinking and blacking out are not usually isolated, one-time behaviors. Often, they are part of a larger struggle with alcohol abuse and can have serious repercussions.
Research indicates that, while blackouts can happen at any level of intoxication, roughly 50% of people will experience a blackout when blood alcohol content reaches 0.22 percent.
At that time, they may experience:
- difficulty walking
- impaired judgment
- slurred speech
- impaired vision
- high-risk behavior
- mood swings
- extreme drowsiness
- anger or sadness
- high-risk sexual activity
- suicidal or self-harming behavior
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It can impair gag reflex and other biological responses, resulting in choking or heart failure.
It is also possible to lose consciousness while experiencing a blackout. In some cases, these individuals may awaken with no knowledge of how they arrived in a location or what happened to them.
Additionally, a habit of binge drinking typically results in lasting cognitive issues, such as damage to the frontal lobe, permanent memory loss, and increased risk of stroke, cirrhosis, heart problems and numerous cancers.
Mental Illness and Alcoholism
Pre-existing mental health issues, such as insomnia, PTSD, anxiety, and OCD, can increase the likelihood of developing alcohol addiction. Substances like alcohol impact brain chemistry, resulting in depression, anger, mood changes, isolation, and even suicidal thoughts.
For those who are predisposed to addiction, this can result in even higher “highs” while consuming alcohol and lower “lows” as they try to quit. This can quickly create a cycle of mental illness, in which alcohol seems to alleviate mental health issues, such as easing social anxiety. However, it only to worsens these issues in the long-term.
Without professional treatment that addresses both the physical and psychological impact of binge drinking and alcohol blackouts, those struggling with alcohol use disorder are unlikely to receive the help they need.
Treatment and Alcohol Blacking Out
Additionally, for most individuals struggling with alcohol addiction, attempts to quit “cold turkey” can lead to overwhelming physical and psychological pain, anxiety, insomnia, muscle tremors, aches, and vomiting. In extreme cases, alcohol withdrawal can include seizures, nerve damage, heart attack, hallucinations, and coma.
Because the experience can be so painful and disorienting, many individuals who attempt detoxification alone will relapse due to a lack of support. The first step in the treatment program will likely be a medical detoxification, which removes alcohol from the body. Depending on the severity of the addiction, alcohol detoxification can take a few days or a few weeks and may include medications to help ease the burden of withdrawal symptoms.
Once detox is complete, those seeking recovery are ready to begin treatment for the habits, mental health issues, and triggers that result in alcohol addiction and blackouts.
Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it? We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.
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How to Get Help
Are you ready to escape the struggle of alcohol abuse and blackouts?
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we understand what you are going through.
Our dedicated team includes addiction specialists, medical professionals, certified addiction counselors, and licensed therapists – all committed to your alcohol recovery journey.
In addition to our supportive, wellness-focused environments,
The resurgence has various treatment options to empower you to achieve your goals.
Call 855-458-0050 to schedule your consultation.
Together, we will help you build the skills and treatment plan to experience freedom from alcohol addiction and blackouts.