April 04

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Week 4 – Tuesday’s 2 Minute Sip: Why Do People Black-Out When They Drink?

Written and Produced By: Jarel McRae, Intern – Kennesaw State University

We all like a usual night on the town where we get to hang out with friends at the bar. We also know that sometimes those nights can get wild and crazy. We may have one too many shots or took those drinks to the head extremely fast which may result in “blacking out”. But are we unconscious? What are the health risks behind these “blackouts”? What happens when we lose consciousness?

According to medicaldaily.com, when we drink alcohol it has an effect on our short-term memory. When we blackout our brains don’t remember what previously happened before. This is why it is considered a temporary amnesia. Our minds work as an assembly line. They begin at the immediate memory, then they are passed into short-term memory, and finally they are moved into your long term. Therefore, when you’re drinking, too much something happens between your short term memory and your immediate memory.

Greatist.com states that the brain receptors that create memories in the hippocampus shut down. So you can remember things in the 30- to 90-second “immediate” span before the blackout, but that’s it.

To break it down for us to do the simple things such as form a sentence, walk or react that is presentable we have to have a firm grip on what we’re trying to do. Therefore, all of those things are pushed into our short-term memory or the working memory. The working memory tells us where we are, where we are going and what we were doing and other functions. All of those memories are stored in your prefrontal lobe that found behind your forehead then is passed to your hippocampus. The hippocampus decides whether the memory should be stored in our long-term memory. While most of your brain is working the little things such as walking, talking and remembering, things are gone.

Always bear in mind that drinking on an empty stomach, using medications or sleeping aids is never a good idea they all can increase your risk of blacking out. Studies also found that women are more likely to blackout than men. Men’s brains recover faster while women have a slower pace which means more alcohol enters their bloodstream. And drinking too much alcohol can cause liver and brain damage.
● A blackout can occur when someone drinks well over their limit. Alcohol is considered a depressant, and when the dose is high enough, depressants are known to impair memory acquisition
● when we drink alcohol, it has an effect on our short-term memory. When we blackout our brains don’t remember what previously happened before. Which is why this is considered a temporary amnesia
● ` Our minds work as an assembly line. They begin at the immediate memory, then they are passed into short-term memory, and finally they are moved into your long term.
● All of the simple functions such as walking, talking and remembering are all stored in our short-term memory or working memory which all is affected by drinking alcohol.
● Women are more likely to blackout than men due to weighing less and having less body water to dilute alcohol
● Remember drinking too much can cause liver and brain damage.