It may all seem simple partying and having fun, but blackout drinking can be extremely dangerous and have irreversible consequences
Alcohol may set the mood for a party, may help you unwind and even give you the courage to do something. But, drinking too much is never fun, a hungover is never pleasant, and blackout drinking can actually be more dangerous than you can imagine. Alcohol – as many drugs – works directly on the receptors of your brain. It changes your mood and behavior almost instantly and, if you lose control, can turn your life upside down. When a person drinks too much, he or she may show signs of intoxication within a considerably short period of time.
These sings may appear as laughing too much or talking loudly, have slurred speech or having difficulty walking. But, what happens when you drink too much? Those side effects can include feeling dizzy and having a blurry vision, not being able to have full control of motor skills, feeling nauseous and throwing up, getting violent or hot-tempered and blacking out or passing out.
Alcoholic blackout is fairly known, but just recently (a few years back) has been actually recognized as a serious medical condition, worthy of medical treatment. Blackout drinking was thought to be a temporary amnesia, something that could be avoided by simply drinking less. However, medical research has shown that alcoholic blackout is an actual reaction on the brain’s communication pathways.
The consumption of alcohol blocks the NMDA receptors on the brain, making it impossible to retain memories on the short-term memory part of the brain. This means, that an alcoholic blackout literally stops memories from being formed.
That fact alone, sounds terrifying. But, what about the long term effects of blacking out? It is a well-known fact that long-term alcohol abuse can permanently hurt brain cells, basically destroying them. Long term effects of blacking out, however, can be irreversible and manifest in serious ways.
Three of the most scary long term effects of blacking out are:
- Brain shrinkage: studies have shown that users who typically experience blackouts suffer brain size damage, a strong indicator of alcohol abuse and that it is irreversible;
- Increased possibility of serious brain disorders: medical tests concluded that 80% of alcohol abusers have a deficiency of certain vitamins and enzymes, which lead to brain disorders like Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome – a disease that causes paralysis of the nerves and prevents muscle coordination;
- Memory problems: as mentioned above, blackout drinking not only prevents memories from being formed on the short-term memory part of the brain, but studies have also shown that, with time and cells deterioration, the communication between the short-term memory and the long-term memory of the brain gets interrupted.
These long term effects of blacking out have severe and irreversible consequences on the brain, the person’s behavior and how someone is able to understand and perceive things. And while these effects are extremely dangerous, there are many other consequences to drinking that we should consider.
Alcoholic blackout is just one of the many signs and symptoms someone abusing alcohol can experience. In the long run, someone that has been a heavy drinker has increased their chances of suffering from any of the following diseases:
- Throat cancer
- Liver damage
- Stomach distress
- Diabetes complications
- Heart damage
- Lung infections
- Muscle cramps
- Thinning of the bones
All of these diseases can be lethal, if a person pays no attention to the warning signs their body is sending. To overcome a struggle with alcohol abuse, a person will need the guidance and support of the experts at a rehabilitation center.
A comprehensive rehab treatment program will be able to provide proper detoxification, rehabilitation therapy, teach the patient coping skills and mechanisms to prevent relapse, and help them get back to daily life with the necessary tools to prevent relapse and maintain their sobriety.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.