The fact some Americans have a significant drinking problem should not serve to indict all drinkers as alcoholics. The reality is drinking alcohol in social settings for enjoyment and relaxation is perfectly acceptable in society. As long as drinking is done in moderation, there shouldn’t be any concerns beyond the fact that any alcohol intake is not a healthy practice. Have you ever been out drinking socially with family and friends, only to find you may have consumed too much alcohol? If so, did you ever experience a blackout from that kind of alcohol intake? If you are truly a social drinker, you most likely haven’t experienced such an episode. The titled question raises certain concerns, concerns that are worth considering. In the sections below, the discussion will focus on what causes blackouts and whether or not it is normal for a social drinker to experience blackouts.
What Causes Alcohol-Induced Blackouts
It is very common for people to conflate passing out and blackouts. If someone passes out from consuming too much alcohol in a sitting, the alcohol will have created a complete state of unconsciousness for the individual. The unconscious state could last minutes or hours. A blackout is not a state of unconsciousness. A person who is experiencing a blackout will be conscious and will often time seem to be functioning like a regular person under the influence. However, they will have no memory of anything they said or did while in that state of mind. From a medical and scientific standpoint, a blackout occurs when the excessive consumption of alcohol disrupts the link between the drinker’s long-term and short-term memories. If short-term memory is unable to create cues connected to long-term memory, the long-term has nothing to pick up. As a point of reference, there is a middle place called a “brownout.” In this alcohol-induced state of mind, the drinker will have some memory retention. This is because of the disruption between long-term and short-term memories in partial.
Is Blacking Out from Alcohol Normal for Social Drinkers?
Again, the titled question raises concerns. If you consider yourself to be a social drinker but have experienced a blackout or two, there would only be two reasonable explanations for this happening. First, you drank an unusually high amount of alcohol in a short period. Second, it is possible you are not being honest with yourself about your drinking. Let’s look further.
Drank Too Much Alcohol Too Fast
It is possible for a social drinker to drink too much alcohol too fast and end up in a state of blackout. However, drinking too much alcohol too fast is not the kind of behavior a social drinker will usually exbibit. Yes, you might have been at a party and ended up partaking in a drinking game. While playing, you might have been doing shots or chugging beer. If you overdid it a bit, it’s possible you experienced a blackout. Assuming this only happened once or twice, it should serve as a warning you are harming your brain as a social drinker and might want to be more careful.
Denial of a Drinking Problem
This second explanation is far more troubling. Denial is a primary characteristic found among addiction sufferers. It’s possible you have a drinking problem but consciously refuse to admit to yourself or others. Blackouts are far more common among alcoholics. The blackouts tend to happen more frequently because of the damage excessive drinking does to the brain. That’s why the idea you have questions about blackouts raises some major concerns. Perhaps, you would benefit by knowing a little bit more about the signs of alcoholism. You should take a look at the following list and be honest with yourself about what’s going on:
- Spending too much time drinking alone
- Increasing difficulties at home with personal relationships
- Increasing difficulties handling responsibilities related to school or work
- Obsession with securing money for and buying alcohol, leads to financial problems
- Wreckless behaviors like unsafe sex or driving while intoxicated
- Frequent blackouts
- Difficulty sleeping
If you have experienced at least one blackout, you should consider it a warning that something could be wrong. If you conclude you might have an addiction problem, we can help you. If you will contact one of our representatives at 833-762-3739, we can bring you into our rehab facility and start working with you on your potential addiction issues.