What Causes An
The alcoholic blackout is defined as a period of amnesia or memory loss that is caused when alcohol consumption
levels prevent the formation of memories in the brain.
The memory gap usually extends for many hours but can go on for several days. Interestingly, the person can act
normally and carry on normal conversations during the period of blackout but will never remember anything that went
Blackouts are sometimes referred to as alcohol poisoning by the medical community and are considered an early
high-risk sign of alcoholism.
It is entirely possible for blackouts to occur after just a few drinks or even the first time a person drinks at
all however, blackouts most generally occur in an alcoholic.
Once the disease of alcoholism has become so severe that the person cannot function without drinking, and has
lost complete control over sobriety, the blackouts take over. Blackouts are an indication of the severity of the
In some cases, it can be the rise in the blood levels of alcohol and not the actual amount of alcohol itself
that triggers the blackout.
The presence of blackouts can definitely indicate severity of the alcoholism however; the absence of blackouts
does not necessarily indicate that the person does not have a problem with alcohol.
There has been new evidence to show that blackouts can be connected to people with a previous head injury. In
this case, the mere presence of alcohol can cause the blackout rather than the level of the alcohol.
The amount of alcohol in a standard size drink is approximately one ounce. Interestingly, the human body can
process only once ounce of liquor in one hour.
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol even ten to twenty drinks in one sitting will cause the body to become
overloaded and cannot process the alcohol efficiently.
Signs that a person is in danger of a blackout include:
1) major loss of motor control,
2) loss of good judgment,
3) slowing of breathing,
4) slowing of the heart rate, and
Another indication that a person is at the risk of beginning to blackout after drinking is the consistent
development of a hangover.
Hangovers can indicate that the person is drinking alcohol excessively and regularly and can be at risk for
blackouts in the future.
Someone who is having regular blackouts can attempt to overcome their excessive drinking by cutting back on
their alcohol intake, stop drinking alcohol or set limits on how much alcohol to drink in a sitting.
These things can work but usually in the person who has just begun to have alcohol related blackouts.
Did You Know
The Addictive Side Of Alcoholism Yes, it is a disease, but Alcoholism is
also an addiction.
It is the undeniable need for a drink that makes if an
It is the inability to stop at just one drink, and the level of difficulty
in quitting, requiring professional assistance and the need for a support group to be able to kick
the drinking habit; that makes Alcoholism an addiction.
Alcohol is after all a drug. As an addiction the condition is a progressive
one. It changes in intensity growing and taking over like weeds in a garden. Addiction robs the
drinker of the ability to see beyond the haze of alcohol to the reality of situations.
They may see an exaggerated reality that is fuzzy and unreal. Addiction
makes choices for you that you would not otherwise make. Addiction often takes the romance out of
If these suggestions do not work it is a good idea for the person to solicit professional assistance.
For many people this will mean joining a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or some other twelve-step program
that can help them get their drinking under control.
Professional detoxification is another possibility and can be quite successful for the alcoholic who drinks
until blacking out.
Change your environment. If your work or social life constantly put you in a situation where
you are tempted by alcohol it is strongly reccommended that you remove yourself from that
The typical example being an alcoholic working in a bar. Change jobs or you may even want to
It is important for the alcoholic to understand why he or she is doing something as harmful himself or herself
as drinking until blacking out.
Even more importantly is to find a way to stop drinking to the point of blackout. For safety and health, the
bottom line is to stop.