Partying is fun and relaxing, but it should be done in a smart way. There are many alcoholic beverages to chose from, and hence it is important to think of healthy drinking and blackout. A blackout is a condition where a person’s alcohol levels are extremely high to the extent of not remembering events while being intoxicated. An important point to remember is memories created before being high is retained. Experts say blackouts happen when blood alcohol level reaches fourteen percent or more.
Symptoms of Alcoholic Blackout
Someone hit by a blackout has a loss of control, here are the symptoms to watch out for:
- Unclear vision
- Lack of judgment
- Difficulty making conversation
- Inability to stand
- Inability to walk
A common perception is a blackout happens only when a person has consumed many drinks. The number of drinks swallowed will not necessarily add to blackout, there are factors that can trigger a blackout such as how quickly a person drinks causing a high feeling, the kind of alcohol had, gender, and body weight.
Excessive alcohol intake affects movement and critical thinking, the affected person loses control and is unable to remember the events that have happened and is not in a position to make decisions and reaction time is reduced. What happens in the brain during a blackout? The hippocampus helps in memory formation and this region of the brain is unable to tolerate too much alcohol intake.
Difference between Blackout and Passing Out:
It is important to remember that during a blackout, a person will appear to be normal, he/she can make conversation, have sex and do the regular things. However, the individual is unable to retain memories during the blackout period. For the other person, it is difficult to determine if the affected person is intoxicated or aware of what is happening. Passing out and blackout are two different terms, passing out is when a person is totally unaware and becomes unconscious and blackout happens when a person is intoxicated but is aware of surrounding events.
Types of Blackout:
There are two kinds of blackouts, complete and partial, in a complete blackout the individual will experience total memory loss. They are unable to gather even a single piece of information. In the case of a partial blackout, the person is not able to remember much of the events that have happened, but when prompted with an indication of a particular event that has happened, he/she may be able to grasp some information.
It is necessary to remember that blackouts are not only caused by enormous alcohol consumption or the amount the body cannot withstand. There are other medical conditions that can result in a blackout such as:
Medical Conditions that Cause Blackout:
- Some medications
- Insufficient oxygen in the body
- Epileptic seizures
- Low blood sugar
- Low blood pressure
It is a healthy practice to prevent blackouts, heavy drinking damages the frontal lobe region of the brain. This region controls cognitive function and also aids in short and long term memory. The decision making and reaction time slows down and the individual is not able to walk properly. The other symptoms from binge drinking are headache, nausea, diarrhea and dry mouth.
The healthy drinking limit is two drinks for men and one drink for women and in the case of binge drinking, it is five or more drinks within a span of two hours for men and for women it is four or more drinks in two hours.
How to prevent alcoholic blackout:
For some people, it is a struggle to avoid an alcoholic blackout, and this is the case for those who have had gastric bypass surgery, history of alcohol abuse and severe withdrawal symptoms and genetic irregularities in alcohol metabolism. In order to avoid experiencing blackouts follow these strategies:
Have a good meal:
The stomach has a small surface but the small intestine can absorb liquids in thousands of square feet. Binge on a good meal to keep the valve that connects the stomach and intestine closed for many hours. This way there is no sudden influx of alcohol resulting in an emergency where the blood alcohol content is enormously high.
Do not gulp down a drink:
Have your drink slowly and you can pace yourself with a non-alcoholic and alcoholic drink. Here there is no sudden increase in blood alcohol content and also set a timer to finish a drink within a slow period of time.
Drink a sufficient quantity of water:
Consume a good amount of water to remove thirst, when you feel thirsty, and crave alcohol, you will drink large amounts in a short span of time leading to blackouts.
Don’t combine alcohol and medicines:
There are several medications that increase the risk of having blackouts when combined with alcohol. It can even be fatal! and it is essential to consult with a doctor if you can drink while taking a certain kind of medication, but don’t mix alcohol and medication. Also, enquire from a doctor about the period of time in which you can take medication and have an alcoholic drink.
Avoid playing drinking games:
Stay away from drinking games to avoid blackouts, as well as dangers of increased alcohol consumption. Some of the dangerous games are beer bongs and this can increase the blood alcohol content to a great level.
Be careful when in an environment where you were smashed, and this time, tell yourself you are going to drink sensibly for your own benefit.
Rest well before you decide to have a drink because if you are sleep deprived there are chances of a spike in blood alcohol content.