What really happens when you blackout?

What really happens when you blackout?

Oct 08

So, you can’t remember how you end up on someone else’s bed, or why your friend is suddenly giving you a cold shoulder, or worst, why you are in the emergency department because of an accident you cannot even remember. What you only recall is your last shot of vodka, and some lightheadedness. What you just experienced is a blackout. But how does it occur? Here’s what you need to know.

Blackout types

If you’re a frequent drinker, you might have experienced not remembering anything that had happened beyond a certain point in time. This neural phenomena is called a black out, which is our brain’s inability to record events that happened during short time periods. A total, “en bloc” blackout is a type of blackout in which you cannot remember anything that happened even when reminded. On the other hand, during a partial, “fragmentary” blackout (or brownout), you can remember the things that you have initially forgotten when reminded.

The hippocampus

So what really happens during a blackout? When you drink more than what your body can handle, your brain’s electrical circuit becomes disrupted. One of the most greatly affected is the hippocampus, which is a seahorse-shaped tissue that lies on the floor of the brain and is responsible for converting information into memories. During a blackout, your brain’s circuit is so disarrayed that hippocampus can’t receive information to create new memories out of it.

The danger zone

Okay, so after you know what happens inside the brain when you blackout, it’s time to know what happens outside. During a blackout, your long-term memory is still intact, which means you can still engage in lively conversations with friends, and do the things that you know by heart, including driving. However, because alcohol impairs muscle coordination, it could cause result in damaging car-related accidents. According to the website of The Mokaram Law Firm (view website), you may notice how drunk driving accidents account for many fatal road incidents in the country.

Keeping away from blackouts

One safest tip to prevent yourself from having blackouts is to not drink more than what your body can handle. Also, blackouts occur when there is a sudden increase in the alcohol level in your blood. So, you may prevent blackouts by drinking slowly. Drinking with an empty stomach may also cause your alcohol level to rise too quickly, so remember to eat first before your first shot.