You’re having a good time at the bar or club chilling with your friends over drinks. You’re in the mood to have fun and you’ve conveniently forgotten that you’re drinking on an empty stomach right after office, you’re matching shot for shot because hey, you only live once.
You think you’re handling it well, you’re just tipsy and then all of a sudden BAM! You’re out cold and you wake up the next day in your own bed, if you’re lucky, and the whole night is a big curious blank.
Recovering after the booze-laden night before.
Then follow the frantic phone calls to your friends to figure out what happened. As you listen unbelievingly about how you reached out over the console to rub your palm over the DJ’s bald shiny pate, your body is reacting to the damage you inflicted on it the night before. Diarrhea, throwing up, weakness and a nasty bruise on your head.
A lot of youngsters have experienced this booze-induced amnesia, after a night of heavy drinking and a consequent blackout.
There are two kinds of blackouts, fragmentary blackouts and en-bloc blackouts.
One which has bits and pieces from last night which you can vaguely remember like reaching out for the whole tequila bottle, someone splashing water on your face and then hammering on your own door to be let in. These are called fragmentary blackouts, also known as brownouts.
The other kind is like a dead winter night. There are no memories, zero. You find yourself in your bed in different clothes (your friends kindly changed you out of your vomit-stained attire) with no idea how you got there. This one’s an en-bloc blackout.
Why we can’t remember much after a blackout.
As Reagan R. Wetherill, a psychiatry professor at the University of Pennsylvania explains to Vice, when we down our drinks too fast, our blood alcohol level rises and alcohol clamps down on areas of the brain which create memories, suppressing them. The hippocampus is responsible for creation of memories and once the brain cells in the hippocampus stop working, no long-term memories are created. When that happens, you’re only living in the present.
He goes on to say,
“Other parts of the brain are still functioning—likely in an impaired way—so you can still respond to your environment, but you’re not creating memories for what you’re saying or doing.”
So you’re likely drunk calling your ex in the middle of the night and then swigging at another bottle after you threw up, but the next morning you’ll be left with no memories of your colourful night and an aftertaste of regret.
Blackouts leave you vulnerable to react in dangerous situations.
But blackouts are dangerous, losing control when the people you trust aren’t around leaves you exposed to drunken fights, even sexual assault or the inability to protect yourself and respond in dangerous situations.
It’s more dangerous for women as studies prove that their blood alcohol levels spike more as compared to men after drinking the same amount of alcohol. Women tend to be smaller, lack enough water in their bodies as well as enzymes in the gut responsible for breaking down alcohol before absorption. Your fruity mixed cocktails and tequila drinks have a lot more alcohol content making you woozy faster.
To avoid passing out cold and mopping the floor next time, avoid those ambitious shot contests which will affect your blood alcohol level to spike. It’s not wise to mix weed with alcohol, since it impairs parts of the brain too.
And finally think twice before picking up your next shot.