When a person becomes addicted to alcohol, it can have devastating effects on his or her health and well-being. In fact, binge drinking can cause emotional problems along with long-term health issues. Oftentimes, heavy alcohol consumption leads to risky behaviors and negative consequences, especially blackouts. Essentially, these types of actions are not normal and can lead to damaging ramifications. If you repeatedly find yourself getting blackout drunk, it is essential to seek help. At the Florida Center for Recovery, we are willing to offer support and therapies in a comfortable environment so that you can prevent further drinking issues. If you are dealing with an alcohol misuse problem, we will help you to regain long-term sobriety.
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Effects of Alcohol on the Body
Alcohol affects many parts of the mind and body. In particular, a person’s behavior may be altered. Since alcohol interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain, a person’s mood and actions change. Oftentimes, a person is unable to think clearly. Inhibitions are lowered as well. As the central nervous system is affected, a person may slur his or her speech and experience poor coordination. Also, a person may feel numbness in his or her hands and feet.
Alcohol Effects on the Heart
Certainly, the heart is one of the most important organs of the body. Unfortunately, it is most likely to feel the effects of alcohol consumption.
Some of the effects of alcohol on the heart include:
- Enlarged heart muscles
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of stroke
In fact, long-term drinking in large quantities can be fatal.
Alcohol Effects on the Liver
Chiefly, alcohol has damaging effects on a person’s liver. Commonly, cirrhosis results from information and scarring of this organ’s tissues. This condition prevents the liver from cleaning the blood and fighting infections properly.
Alcohol Effects on the Digestive System
From the top of the system, alcohol affects a person’s mouth. For example, an individual may experience damage to his or her gums, tongue, and salivary glands. In fact, heavy drinkers often experience high levels of tooth decay.
Next, esophageal issues result from ulcers caused by alcohol consumption. At the same time, blood vessels in the esophagus may become enlarged due to decreased liver function.
The pancreas is also affected by alcohol. This organ may become inflamed and lead to other endocrine disorders.
Alcohol Effects on the Reproductive System
Alcohol affects both the male and female reproductive systems. Women’s menstrual cycles may be disrupted. In fact, extreme cases can lead to birth defects or complete infertility. On the other hand, men may experience lower levels of testosterone. As a result, they may experience erectile dysfunction, prostate problems, and low sperm count.
Significance of Alcohol’s Effects on a Person’s Body
Again, alcohol can cause many negative effects on a person’s body. Various organs and systems are affected. In the short-term, a person may experience minor issues that go away when the alcohol exits his or her body. Long-term effects can be drastic. As the body is overloaded with alcohol on a regular basis, frequent blackouts are possible, which can lead to a multitude of diseases and life-threatening conditions.
What is Binge Drinking?
Specifically, the Substance Abuse and Medical Health Services Administration defines binge drinking as the consumption of four or more alcoholic beverages within a period of two hours. When a person drinks this much alcohol, he or she may find himself or herself blackout drunk. Also, binge drinking raises the chances of suffering from alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.
Effects from Binge Drinking
Studies show that 15 percent of adults binge drink once a week. This activity can cause numerous health problems.
- Stroke, heart problems, liver disease, cancer, and high blood pressure
- Violent outbreaks
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Memory problems
- Alcohol misuse disorder
Signs of Binge Drinking
Some people may not be aware of their binge drinking habits. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the symptoms before it is too late.
- Being tired and irritable after a night out
- Setting limits for drinking that you constantly break
- Blacking out from drinking on a frequent basis
- Extreme guilt or worrying about drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
- Experiencing health problems from alcohol consumption
- Always binge drinking
- Experiencing professional or legal problems due to drinking
Even though binge drinking is not always a daily problem, it can affect a person’s daily activities. In fact, a person may be suffering silently. Since binge drinking may indicate an alcohol misuse disorder, it is essential to seek help.
What Getting Black Out Drunk Entails
When a person gets blackout drunk, it means that he or she has a rapid increase in blood alcohol content. As a result, he or she does not remember the events at the time of the drinking. In other words, a person suffers from alcohol-induced amnesia, which is usually linked to binge drinking.
After a blackout, an individual has difficulties making new long-term memories. Notably, a person does not need to binge drink to experience these issues. In fact, blackouts may occur after a few drinks as well. However, as a person drinks more and more, there is a higher likelihood that this impairment will result.
How Do Blackouts Happen?
To clarify, when a person is sober, his or her memories from after sensory input has been processed in the short-term memory. In other words, memories are encoded and moved to long-term memory.
When an individual tries to remember an event, his or her brain retrieves this memory from long-term storage and places it in short-term memory. Scientific research has proven that drinking alcohol interferes with this transferal process.
Various Kinds of Blackouts
Markedly, there are two types of blackouts. A person either experiences a complete or a partial blackout. By and large, a complete blackout brings total memory loss. For the most part, an individual cannot recall anything. On the other hand, a partial blackout is more common. In this situation, a person does not immediately remember an event, but triggers can make the memory return at a later time.
Getting Blackout Drunk Versus Passing Out Drunk
Surprisingly, getting blackout drunk is different from passing out drunk. In fact, when a person passes out, he or she loses consciousness. Similarly, it is like being asleep. He or she does not respond to any stimuli.
On the other hand, a blackout drunk person may appear to be conscious but will not remember a specific time period. Therefore, it can be extremely dangerous. An individual may try to drive home, have unprotected sex, or participate in other risky behaviors while blackout drunk.
Who is at the Highest Risk of Experiencing an Alcohol Blackout?
Females are more likely to become blackout drunk after drinking alcohol. Also, younger people are at higher risk. This is based on hormones, bodily composition, and size. These items affect the ways that alcohol is distributed and metabolized. Frequently, individuals who take antidepressant drugs may experience persistent blackouts as well.
In general, teens and young adults are more likely to binge drink. Therefore, blackouts are more common in this age group. One study uncovered that half of the college population who drinks alcohol has reported getting blackout drunk at one time or another. With this in mind, these people may experience academic failure, legal troubles, sexual assault, physical violence, or worse.
Fatal Effects of Blackouts
When a person drinks alcohol, his or her gag reflex and autonomic responses become disrupted. As a result, a person can experience fatal results during a blackout. For example, a person may mix certain drugs with alcohol. If this person goes to sleep and vomits, he or she may suffocate and die. Also, blackouts on a frequent basis may lead to heart problems, liver issues, or certain types of cancer.
Are Binge Drinking Episodes and Blackouts Signs of Alcohol Addiction?
Even though binge drinking is not identical to an alcohol misuse disorder, there are certain connections. For one thing, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol raises the risks of developing a debilitating problem that leads to addiction. In fact, blacking out from alcohol may be a warning sign that a person has a problem with drinking. It is highly likely that an individual that is blacking out from alcohol is in the early stages of alcohol addiction.
How the Florida Center for Recovery Can Help
If you or a loved one is blackout drunk it is essential to seek treatment for an alcohol problem. At the Florida Center for Recovery, our trained staff is waiting to help patients achieve fresh starts with sobriety.
Our Fort Pierce facility offers a calming atmosphere for individuals who want to complete detox and rehabilitation for alcohol misuse. We help patients identify and avoid triggers that lead to unhealthy behaviors. Equally important, we help patients stay on the path toward long-term recovery.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.