For non-addicts, the consumption of alcohol can be associated with parties and social events. It can be fun to share a couple of drinks with friends or family in a lively setting. The same ideas apply for an alcoholic; however, it is only “fun” when they first start drinking. Initial consumption of alcohol does not cause the individual to succumb to full blown addiction. What leads to addiction is the daily consumption of alcohol in a manner that is ultimately unhealthy for the individual. An alcoholic will experience countless alcohol blackouts alongside a number of negative consequences regarding his or her physical, mental, and emotional being.
Alcohol blackouts are detrimental to the lives of alcoholics. Mostly, because they may not recognize what is happening until it is too late.
Into the Depths of Unconsciousness
When an individual experiences a blackout caused by alcohol, they are usually extremely intoxicated and might even be experiencing symptoms relating to alcohol poisoning. On the verge of a blackout, they are unaware of their symptoms because they are too involved in attempting to remain coherent.
A blackout occurs by drinking alcohol in excess. An alcoholic will experience this more frequently due to the constant urge to drink. Keep in mind, this does not exclude the ordinary individual or the college student at a frat party. Alcohol blackouts affect all forms of life, which is what makes them so dangerous. Reports have noted that some alcoholics may even drink more heavily to achieve this effect, as quickly as possible.
While intoxicated, alcohol primarily interferes with the transfer of information in the brain. This can lead to short and long-term memory complications, depending on the severity of the blackout.
During a blackout, the individual experiences a total disconnect from reality. Alcohol consumption creates a gap between the physical and mental self, otherwise known as unconsciousness. Although the individual is awake, they are not making any connections between their actions and their thoughts.
The mind performs most of its work during the unconscious level—this is where automatic skills, intuition, dreams, and the process of information are stored. Fleeting thoughts in the unconscious populate long before they enter a person’s conscious state. A person’s unconscious is not harmful; however, in the midst of a blackout, it can lead a person to become violent. Certain fears, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes arise while a person is unconscious. Ultimately becoming dangerous for an individual with no control over their physical being.
Blackouts and the Brain
Alcohol affects the brain more than any other organ in the body. Why? Because alcohol is a depressant as well as a substance that creates an abundance of psychological effects in the individual. It is a major mood altering substance. Yet, it also affects the person’s inability to perform certain motor skill functions.
Alcohol abuse can affect the brain in the following ways:
- Memory loss
- Fogged thinking
- Impaired judgment
- Impulse control
- Inability to accurately perceive reality
- Mental unclarity
Such an intense reaction to alcohol in excess can lead to a number of consequences. As if the consequence of blacking out wasn’t enough, the individual will have no recollection of what happened during their unconsciousness. This can lead to several internal afflictions.
Aside from internal afflictions, alcohol blackouts can lead to a coma. Some long-lasting effects deriving from a state of comatose are:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Excessive sweating
- Trouble breathing
- Neurological damage
The brain’s response during a blackout is to shut down, which is why the individual experiences a series of dramatic effects. While the brain is not fully shut down, it is basically useless, and the longer the person is in an unconscious or comatose state, the more severe the outcome will be.
Who’s at Risk?
There is no standard answer for who is at risk when it comes to alcohol blackouts.
Alcohol consumption is common in people as young as thirteen-years-old, so it is hard to pinpoint specifically who experiences more blackouts—though alcoholics are prone to experience blackouts associated with alcohol. Alcoholics drink more and have different goals they are trying to achieve when drinking.
How much the individual is going to drink and why they are drinking can be the deciding factor of blacking out. However, this does not exclude any other person that partakes in social or occasional drinking bouts. Essentially, anyone who drinks too much can experience a blackout.
This should be a major concern for parents and individuals who are oblivious to the fact that addiction and its consequences have no boundaries. It is important to know your limits, especially since not all individuals, alcoholic or not, can control themselves when it comes to using substances. The lack of self-control and limited knowledge of how severe excessive drinking is causes individuals to get stuck in alcohol’s relentless grip.
Are Alcohol Blackouts Dangerous?
Alcohol blackouts are severely dangerous. The negative consequences that arise from a person experiencing a blackout are endless: alcohol poisoning, fatal accidents, and a long list of regret and embarrassment. Not only are alcohol blackouts, in itself, extremely dangerous, but the long-lasting consequences that follow can prove just how severe things can become.
Here is a breakdown of the repercussions:
- It can lead to alcohol poisoning
- An individual may act out differently than they normally would
- It can lead to a coma, which could be fatal or severely life-threatening
- The brain is impacted (ex: memory loss or neurological damage)
- Blackouts do not discriminate, it affects anyone
- Feelings of depression, regret, loss of control
- Indicator of alcoholism or signs leading to alcoholism
Although consuming alcohol is ultimately a choice, certain individuals in addiction do not have the ability to choose whether or not they can drink. They feel as though they have to. For those who do have the ability to choose, it’s important to keep these side-effects in mind due to alcohol blackouts, ultimately, being preventable. With precaution, the harsh realities of a blackout and its unpleasant side-effects are reversible.
Ever Experience a Blackout?
Blackouts caused by excess alcohol consumption are dangerous and can lead to a number of negative long-lasting effects. Alcohol abuse takes a toll on the lives of the individual as well as the family and friends involved.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, do not hesitate to seek help. At Ocean Breeze Recovery, we have trained medical staff available 24/7 to help you quit drinking and find the best treatment option for you. If you think it’s time to stop fighting this insidious disease, call (855) 960 – 5341 today. It’s never too late to regain control of your life.