This is What Happens When You Get Blackout Drunk

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It’s bad enough that you’re hung over and experiencing nausea. But now as you slope yourself to the bathroom, where you expect to do…something, you suddenly can’t remember what happened the night before.

That’s right, you blacked out. What’s worse is you now need to ask how you “behaved.” Did you do anything strange to anyone or anything? Or did you simply fade to black, drunk and peaceful?

Blacking out never results in a good outcome. It is not only embarrassing, but depending upon the situation, risky or even life threatening.

Even so, you’ll take your chances. The partying is too much fun. After all, what harm is a blackout now and then, even if blacking out tends to be normal for you?

Keep reading to find out what effect subsequent blackouts can have on your body and you’re your psyche.


While blackouts are mostly attributed to alcohol, they aren’t exclusive to those who are seasoned drinkers. Basically, anyone can black out if they drink enough booze.

Blackouts usually occur in one of two ways.

En bloc blackouts transpire when large amounts of a person’s memory are wiped out.

Fragmentary blackouts, also known as brownouts, makes up the second type of blackout. Fragmentary blackouts are more common, as well as less severe than en bloc blackouts.

With fragmentary blackouts, the memory loss is less severe. A person loses only fragments of their memory yet can gain back what memory they’ve lost.

En bloc blackouts have much more dire consequents.

En bloc blackouts destroy whole blocks of memory, which in many cases, cannot be retrieved.

But at the end of the day (or party), whether a person suffers from en bloc memory loss, or fragmented, in either scenario, memories are non-existent because, as alcoholics will maintain, the memories weren’t stored in the first place.

In short, the person who blacks out won’t remember what they did or said. Consequently, they missed large chunks of their evening, that depending upon the frequency of their drinking, can become enormous lapses that in some cases can be very much like amnesia.


According to published accounts, blackouts are caused by a neurophysiological chemical disruption in the brain’s hippocampus, a region integral to memory formation.

The alcohol tends to interfere with the receptors in the hippocampus which transmit glutamate, a compound that carries signals between neurons.

During this interference, alcohol prevents some receptors from working, while activating others. This process causes the neurons to create steroids that then prevent neurons from properly communicating.

This disrupts long-term potentiation (LTP), which is a process believed necessary for learning and memory.

Simply put, the long-term effect that drinking, causes a type of anterograde amnesia, an affliction in which the brain temporarily loses the ability to create new memories.

In other words, drinkers who fall victim to blackouts can still function on productive levels. They get up, brush their teeth, get to work, then come home. They can go out to dinner, be personable as well as friendly.

Problem is, as a blackout drunk, they also won’t remember a single moment of their friendliness, or the dinner, much less their day at work.


While blackouts tend to indicate a continual level of high intoxication, they can also occur to people who might not necessarily drink, or who occasionally drink. If you’ve had one or two blackouts, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an alcoholic.

However, if you are a consistent drinker who consumes enough to black out, then you most likely do need some form of counseling, and if necessary, treatment.

You don’t want to put your life under more blackout drinking than what you’ve already put it through.

If you feel alcohol and/or drugs is causing a block between yourself and your loved ones, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers, we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. We specialize in programs that include alcohol and drug detox and recovery, intensive outpatient rehabilitation, and specialty curriculums for members of the LGBTQ+ society. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-888-537-6671.

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