Individuals who drink excessive amounts of alcohol can experience a blackout, a period during which the drinker literally does not remember what has happened in the recent past. Blackouts can range from being mildly annoying to life threateningly dangerous. I found this out first hand on the day of my 23rd Birthday when I came out of an alcohol induced blackout and found myself in jail. I remember talking my sixth or seventh “birthday shot” but that’s the last thing that I can recall about that night. I don’t remember getting into a friend’s car, I don’t remember my friend crashing his car into a palm tree doing 65 mph, and I definitely don’t remember being pulled out of the car by police and being arrested.

When I awoke in jail later that evening, I had no idea where I was or how I got there.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, blackouts are periods of alcohol-induced amnesia. During these times, an individual actively participates in events yet has no memory or only partial memory of what occurred during the blackout.

Blackouts occur more frequently when alcohol is consumed rapidly. Someone not used to consuming high levels of alcohol quickly can succumb to a blackout, which is totally out of character for them. Many college drinkers, like me, suffer from blackouts and the ramifications can range from embarrassing to illegal.

Regardless, blackouts are frightening and potentially tragic. These periods represent a dangerous extreme of impairment and are a clear warning sign of problem drinking. Luckily for me, I was only charged with public intoxication and subsequently released from jail. But this was a wakeup call that my drinking habits had gotten out of control. After this near death incident, I realized that my life was spiraling downward into depression, binge drinking, and alcohol addiction. So I sought out a residential treatment center to help me put the pieces of my life back together.

If you are concerned that perhaps you or a loved one has suffered from an alcohol induced blackout or you’ve previously thought you may be drinking excessively, please contact us at Creative Care in the Los Angles area for more information on treatment for alcohol addiction.