Everyone loves to go out on the weekend and have a good time. That said, if you’re always getting so wasted that you can’t remember the night before, that’s a problem. Blackout drinking is a dangerous and all-too-common pass time.
It involves drinking so much alcohol that your brain’s memory processing and storage system don’t function. You’ll party and have a great time, but you won’t remember a single bit of it. This kind of lifestyle comes with serious dangers and health hazards.
For starters, it’s hard on your body, especially your organs and brain. It can hurt your mental health and destroy your long-term memory even when sober. Blackout drinking also compromises your decision-making abilities.
This increases the risks of you getting into trouble, and could put you in danger of bad actors. Sexual violence is a particular risk. For a guide on the dangers of blackout drinking, read on.
When you drink far too much alcohol, you black out. What this means is you can’t remember anything about what you’ve done or where you’ve been. It can feel like that scene in Men In Black after they wipe your brain with the pen – if it came with crippling hangover headaches, that is.
What is blackout drinking, though? In essence, it’s what happens when your blood alcohol level (BAC) exceeds 0.22%. The natural process through which your brain records and stores your experiences can’t function at that level.
That doesn’t mean you pass out or faint – at least not consistently or right away. It does mean that the things you do or see aren’t transferred into your brain’s longer-term storage. This results in you waking up with a wicked hangover and no idea what happened last night.
These lapses in memory are serious and dangerous. If you can’t remember what you did or said, then you don’t know what you might be responsible for. It would kinda be like living a real-life Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario.
The things you could get up to while blackout drunk would range from embarrassing to illegal. You could pose a danger to yourself or those around you, and you’ll likely do something you regret. If you keep drinking like this then that will come with longer-term consequences on your mental and physical health too.
Your memory issues might also become long-term or even permanent. That’s the last thing anyone wants.
Sustained Liver, Brain, and Organ Damage
Among the many alcohol dangers, severe physical damage is big. In many cases, blackout drinking is actually associated with alcoholism. This means the abuse when you blackout drink is a sustained and repeated process.
There are people who go out and get hammered almost every weekend. That doesn’t mean those people are alcoholics. What it does mean is that they’re doing serious damage to their organs and brain.
Liver disease and brain cell death aren’t jokes or urban myths. There are real dangers to drinking too much alcohol, and they scale up with the frequency. You might think you’re safe because you only binge on the weekend.
Unfortunately, the damage you do to yourself for those 2 days can still destroy your body from the inside. Sustained brain cell damage, for example, can result in long-term memory issues. The same is true for your cognitive abilities and decision-making.
If taken far enough, it can feel like developing early adult Alzheimer’s. There are plenty of other physical conditions as well. Chronic heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, and high blood pressure are all possible.
Your chances of stroke, heart attack, and various cancers are higher. Your immune system will be seriously weakened, and your mental health can worsen. Depression and anxiety are two examples that can get triggered by alcohol abuse.
If you think your blackout drinking might be a result of addiction, you can take an Alcohol addiction quiz. It’s also super important to reach out to professionals that can help you.
If you go blackout drinking often, it’s needless to say you’re likely to run into legal trouble. A decent part of this has to do with the memory lapse issue, but there’s more to it. Alcohol is well known for lowering inhibitions.
What this means is you feel less restrained and freer. You’re more likely to do crazy stuff you wouldn’t usually do. There’s a decent chance some of this might be illegal or dangerous.
When you drink until you black out, you have the unique detriment of not remembering what you do. This means that problematic behavior can repeat. This is especially since you have no frame of reference for how crazy you get.
If you blackout drink with friends, then all of you might be equally hammered. If that happens, there’s no one to hold anyone accountable. That’s most often a recipe for disaster.
If you can’t police yourselves, someone else will. Drink slowly and responsibly, or seek help.
Remember that public drunkenness is a crime in most jurisdictions. The same is true for disturbing the peace. If it looks like you might pose a danger to yourself or others, even by accident, the police might detain you.
Waking up in a detox room or jail cell is the last thing any of us want to do on a Sunday or Monday morning. Avoid this through moderation or rehab.
It Could Put You In Danger
This is one of the biggest dangers of blackout drinking. You have to remember that when you get so drunk you can’t remember anything, you aren’t even close to your best shape. Someone might think you’re “okay”, but you aren’t.
You’re 100% in no condition to drive a car, and might not even be able to walk home by yourself. Alcohol-related car crashes are deadly and always serious. You could put yourself and everyone that shares the road at risk.
You might injure yourself, or cause death to yourself, your passengers, or those around you. Of course, all the other potential dangers are also present. This includes falling from a ledge or into a river or breaking your ankle walking home.
You might also be more likely to get into fights or altercations which could turn bloody or deadly. Plenty of people have gotten killed by a single punch, even by accident. Accidental manslaughter is still a crime that could ruin the rest of your life.
You might also be the unlucky recipient of that death punch, or worse. The dangers of and ways in which you could end up in a violent situation are many. Being blackout drunk increases the chances of them.
It also reduces your ability to defend yourself or make decisions that could get you out of danger. By avoiding getting so drunk you can’t remember what happened last night, you’ll be in better shape. At the very least you’ll be able to make safer decisions.
The Risk of Sexual Violence
This might be an uncomfortable subject for some, but it’s also important. The risks of being the victim of sexual assault are much greater if you blackout drink. It’s easier for terrible people to take advantage of you.
The fact you won’t remember the details in the morning makes it worse. Some people think they can get away with sexual assault and rape because the other person is drunk. They might even be drunk themselves, and justify it to themselves.
No amount of drunkenness on either party justifies sexual assault, rape, or violence. Consent is crucial, and being so drunk you can’t remember anything is not a valid ground to give or accept it. That said, the dangers persist and are very real.
There’s the fact that drinking to excess makes it harder to get out of dangerous situations. This is often because of impaired decision-making. You might also be less steady on your feet and those find it harder if things get physical.
The danger to you while blackout drunk doesn’t have to occur at the party or venue you’re at. You could get attacked on your way home, or at the bus stop or parking lot.
It’s important to know how to help a drunk person, especially if it looks like they might be in danger. Stay in groups, watch over your drinks, and if you notice someone too drunk to take care of themselves, step in. Also, remember that victims of sexual violence can be of any gender or orientation.
The Serious Dangers of Blackout Drinking
The many hazards and dangers of blackout drinking are very serious. Drinking that much can cause long-term damage to your organs, brain cells, and memory. It can also put you in risky situations you might not be able to deal with in that state.
There are legal issues to consider, as well as your long-term mental and physical health. For more info on topics like these, check out our site. We have plenty more articles for you to look through.