If you consume more than two drinks per hour, you run the risk of experiencing a blackout. These blackouts usually occur within 30 minutes after consuming alcohol. Are blackouts a sign of alcoholism? Typically, the answer is yes â€” frequent blackouts are a sign of alcoholism. Blackouts suggest you are drinking at levels above those recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
What Exactly are Blackouts from Drinking?
Blackouts can occur after drinking too much alcohol. This is because alcohol affects the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory. Alcohol causes blood vessels in the brain to constrict, which makes it harder for oxygen to reach the brain cells. As a result, the neurons begin to die off. The dead neurons cannot send messages to other parts of the brain, so they do not receive information. In this way, the brain becomes unable to form new memories.
However, some people have experienced blackouts without having consumed excessive amounts of alcohol. For example, someone could have a blackout if they had been exposed to extremely loud noise such as gunshots or explosions. A person’s body temperature could also play a role in causing a blackout. When someone gets very hot, his or her body releases hormones called catecholamines into the bloodstream. Catecholamines affect the brain and nervous system. They make us feel anxious, angry, and excited. Too much adrenaline can cause a person to lose consciousness.
In addition to being caused by drinking too much alcohol, blackouts can also be caused by head injuries, seizures, stroke, heart attacks, and certain medications. Some drugs can even cause blackouts when taken in combination with alcohol.
Are Blackouts a Sign of Alcoholism?
The symptoms of alcoholism include blackouts, which are caused by alcohol toxicity. If someone drinks heavily and then passes out, it could mean they’ve had too much to drink. But if someone doesn’t pass out after drinking, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not an alcoholic. It just means that they haven’t consumed enough alcohol to cause them to lose consciousness.
If you’re concerned about your drinking habits, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you ever wake up feeling like you don’t know where you are?
- Do you ever forget things that happened around you?
- Are there times when you behave erratically?
- Do you often say or do things you regret?
- Do you ever have trouble remembering what you did yesterday?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you might need help dealing with your addiction.
What Happens to Your Brain When You’re Blackout Drunk?
The brain doesn’t function well after drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol affects the parts of the brain that control movement, coordination, balance, and thought. These functions are called cognitive processes. As a result, you may experience problems with thinking, reasoning, judgment, and problem solving. You may also become confused, disoriented, and lose touch with reality.
Additional Dangers of Blackouts from Drinking Alcohol
The dangers of blackouts include not only the risk of driving after drinking, but also the risk of injury due to falls, motor vehicle accidents, and violence. People who experience blackouts often don’t know they were drinking at all. They might think they had a stroke, heart attack, seizure, or some other medical emergency. In fact, many people who experience blackouts actually die because they don’t realize how drunk they are.
How to Treat Alcoholism
Blackout drinking is dangerous because it can lead to serious health consequences. For example, if you drive while under the influence of alcohol, you put yourself and others at risk. If you drink and drive, you could end up seriously injuring yourself or another driver. Other risks include car crashes, injuries, property damage, and even death.
The best way to treat alcoholism is to avoid it altogether. However, if you’ve already developed a problem, seek professional help. There are several types of treatment available for alcoholism, including individual therapy, group counseling, 12-step programs, medication, and more.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Nashville, TN
The best treatment programs for alcoholism will include both medical and psychological interventions. Medical treatments include medications, counseling, and behavioral therapies. Psychological treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches people new ways to think about their problems and helps them develop coping skills. At Brentwood Springs Detox in Nashville, Tennessee, we treat alcohol addiction to help people lead healthy lives. Visit our admissions page today to learn more.