If you have ever woken up after a night of drinking unsure of what happened the night before, you may have had a blackout. Alcohol-related blackouts are episodes of short-term amnesia caused by excessive consumption of alcohol, often consumed quickly in a brief period of time. From our experiences at our center for alcohol rehab in Wilmington NC, blackouts occur when the blood alcohol content (BAC) is much higher than the legal limit. It is estimated to be between 0.14 percent and 0.20 percent. The legal limit for most states is 0.08 percent.
When someone experiences a blackout, he or she is not able to recall events that happened during and after the period of excessive drinking. This form of memory impairment can be related to binge drinking, as it can occur when the blood alcohol level increases quickly in a short time period. Alcohol is a depressant, and in high doses, it can prevent the brain from forming memories. A person who has blacked out from drinking will not be able to recall events that occurred while he or she was intoxicated.
There are two types – en bloc and fragmentary. An en bloc blackout is when the person who experienced it can’t remember anything that happened the night before. The actual time when they blacked out is not clear because the person can’t pinpoint a time.
A fragmentary blackout is when a person forgets parts of the evening. They can usually remember some of the events of the night before, especially if someone reminds them of what happened. This type of blackout is sometimes called a “brownout.”
Dangers of Blackouts
Other than embarrassing yourself and not knowing what you really did the night before, there are many dangers of blackouts. The idea of not knowing what you did for a period of time can be scary enough, but you can also put yourself at risk for other things.
You can put yourself in danger of risky behavior, such as having unprotected sex, which can lead to STDs or pregnancy. Unfortunately, there are people in the world who will take advantage of someone who has blacked out.
Some people tend to get violent when they drink, so they could start fights and end up getting hurt or hurting someone else.
There is also the risk that you will try to drive home. Have you ever heard a friend tell a story about being at home, with his car, the next morning but unsure of how he and the car got there? Driving while that impaired puts you and other drivers at risk.
Blackouts are associated with binge drinking and could develop into alcohol dependence. Long term health effects of heavy drinking and frequent blackouts could cause liver damage as well as brain damage In fact, blackouts are considered early signs of brain damage due to excessive drinking. If you, or someone you know, has a drinking problem, please call Legacy Freedom. We offer affordable alcohol rehab in Wilmington NC.
Teens and Black Outs
Teens between 15 and 19 are at risk for alcohol-related blackouts, according to a study published last year in Alcohol abuse: Clinical & Experimental Research. The rate of blackouts increases as a teenager gets older. The highest rate of blackouts, 74 percent, occurred among 19-year-old young adults. Only 30 percent of 15-year-olds experienced blackouts. It could be concluded that when a teen goes off to college and has less supervision and more access to alcohol, he or she is more likely to drink excessively, which can cause more frequent blackouts.
In another study, researchers surveyed 430 college freshmen who had violated drinking-related rules in the past. The students were asked about alcohol use from high school to college, including how much alcohol they drank in high school, how often they got drunk and if they had experienced blackouts. The researchers determined that the drinking patterns a teenager had in high school had an impact on their level of alcohol-related risk in college. The participants who had come to college with a history of drinking-related issues had a higher risk of participating in heavy drinking the first two years of college, which can lead to alcohol-related problems such as blacking out.
Other studies have shown that four out of five college students drink regularly and to excess. A high level of alcohol consumption on a continued basis can lead to more frequent blackouts. Brains are still forming up until around age 25, so that’s why they tend to drink enough to cause a blackout. They don’t have the messages from their brains telling them to stop.
There are other factors that increase the risk of blackouts among teenagers who drink. Females are more likely to blackout after binge drinking due to having a lower level of tolerance for alcohol than males. Girls generally consume their first alcoholic beverage at a later age than boys. A boy typically has his first drink at 11 while for girls the median age is 13. All young adults who have their first drink at 14 or younger are more likely to develop problems with alcohol over people who wait until they are of legal age.
Teens that have behavioral issues and tend to act impulsively are more likely to blackout while drinking. Young adults who smoke cigarettes are also more at risk. If a teenager’s friends engage in binge drinking, drug use or other harmful activities, he or she is more likely to experience blackouts while drinking. Teens with family members who have problems with alcohol are also more likely to experience blackouts. If your teenager is drinking, call Legacy Freedom. Ask about our outpatient programs for alcohol rehab in Wilmington NC.
How to Prevent Blackouts
Blackouts occur when someone drinks a lot in a short period of time. So, slow down. The body can process about one drink per hour without causing a spike in BAC. Try alternating a glass of water with each drink. And don’t drink on an empty stomach.
If you drink when you haven’t had much sleep, it can take less alcohol to get you drunk, so you may be more likely to blackout. Mixing alcohol with other drugs, legal or illegal, can strengthen the effects of alcohol.
Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab in Wilmington NC for Teens
If you have woken up in the morning not knowing what happened the night before, you have experienced a blackout. If this happens frequently, you may have an addiction to alcohol. If you’re considering getting addiction treatment for your drug or alcohol problem, give us a call at Legacy Freedom Treatment Center in Wilmington, NC. There is no reason to be afraid to get help. Our caring admissions counselors can answer any questions you may have. We offer outpatient programs designed to let you continue to work and meet family obligations. Call us today to discuss the many treatment options we offer for drug and alcohol rehab in Wilmington NC. We want to be a part of your recovery from addiction.