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General Practice 2023

Blackout alcoólico: what é, how to identify and how to avoid

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Blackout alcoólico: what é, how to identify and how to avoid
Blackout alcoólico: what é, how to identify and how to avoid

The term alcoholic blackout refers to the temporary loss of memory that occurs when drinking too much alcohol and not to the loss of consciousness. In fact, it is very common for the person with alcoholic blackout to continue interacting and performing activities, but they are unable to create memories of these moments. For this reason, it is very common not to remember how to get home.

This alcoholic amnesia seems to happen because the brain is unable to function properly when under the influence of alcohol. As the level of alcohol increases in the blood, it becomes more difficult to have normal brain function and, therefore, less important activities, such as creating and solidifying memories, are turned off.

When blood alcohol levels decrease, the creation and solidification of memories tends to return, hence blackout is considered a temporary situation.


How to identify

To identify whether or not you have suffered from alcohol blackout, you should try to answer the following questions:

  1. Did you drink too much the night before and don't remember parts of the night?
  2. Can't remember what drinks you had?
  3. Don't know how you got home?
  4. Don't you remember meeting up with friends or acquaintances the night before?
  5. Don't know where you've been?

If you answered yes to more than 3 questions, it is very likely that you have suffered an alcohol blackout.

It is important to clarify that people who suffer an alcoholic blackout do not lose old memories, created in the past, only those that would be created after high alcohol intake.

When it is more frequent

Alcoholic blackout most commonly occurs in people who drink on an empty stomach, who are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, or who do not drink alcohol regularly.

Also, the higher the alcohol content of the drink, the greater the chances of suffering a blackout.

How to avoid alcohol blackout

To avoid alcohol blackout, the best tip is to avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. But if that's not an option, then some tips that can help reduce the risk are:

  • Eat before drinking and every 3 hours, especially after starting to drink;
  • Take activated charcoal before starting to drink, as it makes it difficult for the stomach to absorb alcohol;
  • Always drink the same drink, avoiding mixing drinks, such as shots or cocktails for example;
  • Drink a glass of water before each drink, to ensure hydration.

These tips help not only avoid alcohol blackout but also reduce hangover symptoms, helping to drink less alcohol and stay hydrated. Check out our tips on how you can cure a hangover faster.

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