Have you noticed that there are periods of time and events you simply cannot recall when you drink? Are you waking up in strange places and not remembering how you got there? You could be experiencing blacking out from drinking. It is easy to understand you could be concerned and want to know what does blacking out mean and whether you are an alcoholic.
What Does Blacking Out Mean?
It is essential to point out that blacking out and passing out are not the same things. Blacking out is caused by excessive drinking and refers to periods where you remain awake yet cannot recall what you did or said or where you went while intoxicated.
On the other hand, passing out is where you lose consciousness and essentially fall asleep from drinking too much alcohol. With blackouts, you are still fully functioning, and your behaviors may seem very normal to those around you.
What Causes Blackouts When Drinking?
The most common cause of blackouts from drinking is when you binge drink. Binge drinking is consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a relatively short time, usually only a few hours. However, people can also experience blackouts the more they drink and the longer they drink.
Blackouts typically occur as the body’s blood alcohol content (BAC) levels increase, and the body cannot process the alcohol to lower the levels fast enough. As BAC levels rise, you can reach the point where your body is overloaded and cannot handle the excessive amount of alcohol, which triggers blackouts.
Another cause of blackouts is combining certain drugs and illegal substances with alcohol. Mixing certain substances with alcohol can elevate BAC levels or create a situation where the body is overly stimulated. So, in response, you experience a blackout.
What Does Blacking Out Mean for Me?
When you black out, you are experiencing periods of short-term memory loss or amnesia. Your brain is not able to recall events stored in your short-term memory. Essentially, that part of your brain responsible for storing short-term memories and transferring those to long-term memory stops working.
Experiencing even a single blackout while drinking should be a cause of concern. As a result, you may want to reevaluate your drinking habits.
What Are the Dangers of Blacking Out While Drinking?
The primary danger of blacking out while drinking is you are still fully awake and functioning. Even though you are conscious, you have no memory of the events later.
As such, you could continue to drink more alcohol, engage in conversations, eat, go shopping, engage in unsafe sex, or drive a vehicle. As you can imagine, the risks of injury and accidents to yourself and others can occur as well.
Signs of Alcoholism
Blacking out while drinking does not always indicate you are an alcoholic. However, if you engage in binge drinking regularly and are blacking out, it is an indication you are misusing alcohol.
On the other hand, if you are experiencing any of the following signs, it could indicate you have an alcohol use disorder and addiction:
- Inability to stop drinking once your start
- Drinking to alleviate the effects of hangovers
- Drinking more often and frequently
- Looking forward to drinking
- Drinking to manage stress and anxiety
- Drinking to lower your inhibitions in social settings
- Engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners
- Getting upset when someone questions your alcohol use
- Hiding your drinking from friends and family
- Stealing money from friends and family to buy alcohol
- Exchanging sexual acts for alcohol
- Losing interest in hobbies and activities you used to enjoy
- Withdrawing from friends and family that are concerned about your drinking
- Drinking to the point where you black out and eventually pass out
- Frequent binge drinking to experience the effects of alcohol faster
- Engaging in risky behaviors or making poor decisions
In addition, continued alcohol misuse causes chemical changes in the brain and increases health risks, such as stroke, heart attacks, and liver damage. Some people also become violent and can engage in violent behaviors without any regard for the consequences of their actions.
Should I Get Help for Blacking Out?
Blacking out could be an early indication you are on the path to alcohol addiction. The sooner you get help for your blackouts, the better it will be for you in the long run. You may not yet be dependent on alcohol or addicted to it. So, seeking help can be beneficial and help you determine what role, if any, alcohol has in your life.
Begin Alcohol Treatment in Orange County, CA
As you can see, when you are blacking out from drinking alcohol, you should be concerned. You can learn more about alcoholism and find out if you need to begin alcohol treatment at Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, CA. We offer customized alcohol treatment options and programs that address your specific concerns and needs. Even if you are unsure if you an alcoholic, we are still here to answer any questions you may have about drinking and blacking out.
To find out more and take the first steps for dealing with your blackouts and drinking, visit our admissions page today.