What Is Blacking Out From Alcohol and Why Does It Happen?

Blacking out, otherwise known as being “blackout drunk”, refers to when a person has had so much to drink that they’re basically on “autopilot”, in a sense. If you’ve ever been drinking and look back on it the next day and you don’t remember how you got home, or you don’t remember what happened for a chunk on the night, you were probably blackout drunk.

The exception to this could be if someone only has a drink or two and disassociates and blacks out, because in that case, it could be an interaction with medication or somebody could have added another substance to their drinking without them realizing it.

But generally speaking, it’s when someone drinks a large quantity of alcohol and then can’t remember what happened.

Someone who blacks out won’t always be out of control, and if everyone is having a few drinks, you might not even realize that they’re blackout drunk.

Some people can be totally out of it but still maintain a certain composure while they’re on autopilot, or at least seemingly, but that doesn’t necessarily take away the dangers, risks, or the harm of getting blackout drunk.

What Are You Signs of Being Blackout Drunk?

Some people need to drink a lot to get to this point, other people don’t require nearly as much alcohol to blackout. It really depends on things like their tolerance, or how alcohol might interact prescriptions, or if they have an empty stomach, and so on and so forth.

The symptoms of being blackout drink can be similar to the other things that happen to your body when you’re drinking such as being dizzy, having a headache, changes in your vision and perception, and slurred speech or trouble speaking.

These can vary from person to person. When you’re in the moment of being blackout, there could still be a little part of you that recognizes you’re blackout and is kind of along for the ride. One can also slip in and out of a blackout stage of intoxication throughout the night, as well.

What To Do If You Blackout?

If this is something that happens to you once, it reinforces the importance of being in a good environment with friends around if you’re planning on drinking. Once you’ve blacked out, you’re not really in control anymore, by definition, so it’s kind of too late – you’ll just need to moderate your drinking better in the future. If that’s something you are struggling with doing, you may have a drinking problem and it’s probably time to think about quitting drinking.

While you’re blacked out, its important to have friends around who will take care of you, making sure you don’t try to drive, making sure you don’t try to call your ex, and so on.

After the effects of alcohol have worn off, you can take a look at your drinking habits and understand that blacking out is not a sustainable thing. It’s bad for you and your body in a lot of different ways, it can put you in serious danger, along with those around, and even total strangers. It’s not good, and it’s something to work to avoid in the future.

That could mean changing your drinking habits, making sure not to drink when/if you’re on certain medications, or simply finding other coping methods and ways to deal with whatever troubling you if you’re someone who drinks to escape.

If you’re a social drinker every now and then and you black out on weekends, this type of binge drinking can still be a serious drinking problem.

Get Help For Yourself or a Loved One

If you’re having trouble controlling your drinking or you feel things getting out of hand, call the number at the top of this page or below this paragraph to learn about your options. An expert is standing by to discuss how you can find help, whether it’s covered by insurance or other programs, and more.

Category: Articles
Martijn van Eijk
Martijn is a passionate creator and the driving force behind StopDrinking.com. He created this website to assist individuals and their families in conquering alcohol addiction and finding a joyful, fulfilling life after alcohol. With a deep understanding of the challenges they face, he empowers readers with valuable insights and practical guidance on their journey towards recovery. Author of the Stop Shaking Book.