A blackout is a brief condition affecting memory and characterized by a sense of lost time. An episode can occur once the alcohol levels in the body is elevated. Remember that alcohol impairs the capability to create new memories while intoxicated.
As an individual drink more alcohol and the blood alcohol level rises, the rate and length of memory loss increases. The amount of memory loss tends to vary from one individual to another.
What happens during an episode?
Once the blood alcohol level reaches 14% or higher, blackout occurs. The individual will have no memory of the time that has passed once the blood alcohol level is higher than this threshold.
During this period, the individual might experience:
- Difficulty talking or walking
- Difficulty standing
- Impaired vision
- Impaired judgement
What causes a blackout?’
There are 2 forms of blackout:
- Partial – there are visual or verbal cues that can help the individual recall forgotten events
- Complete – there is permanent memory loss
A blackout is often linked with alcohol consumption. In most cases, drinking large amounts of alcohol rapidly or on an empty stomach can result to an episode.
Other possible causes include:
- Epileptic seizures
- Low blood sugar
- Psychogenic seizures
- Low blood pressure
- Oxygen restriction
- Certain drugs
What is the outlook?
A blackout induced by alcohol varies for every individual. The amount ingested, how long it took for the individual to drink and overall physiology has a role in the episode. These factors can affect how long an episode lasts.
The blackout ends once the body absorbs the alcohol and the brain can create memories again. Sleep can help end a blackout since rest provides the body time to process the alcohol.