If you’ve ever been drunk, you may know how frightening a blackout can be. It happens when a person’s brain stops recording events that are happening around them.
It can occur even when the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is only twice the legal limit. The person can still walk and talk, but they won’t remember anything that happened while they were intoxicated.
The hippocampus is a brain region that forms short-term memories and helps them to be transferred into long-term memory. When you drink alcohol, it affects the way the hippocampus functions, making it more difficult to create and retain memory.
The hippocampus also has unique features, such as neurogenesis, which is the process of new neurons being "born" in the brain. Damage to the hippocampus can cause memory problems, which can lead to an increased risk of addiction and mental illness.
The brain uses neural networks, neurotransmitters, and the hippocampus to consolidate memories. Heavy drinking disrupts communication between these neurons and inhibits this memory formation process. The result is gaps in your memory for events that happened while you were drunk. These gaps are called blackouts and they happen in up to 55 percent of college students who drink alcohol.
A blackout occurs when the hippocampus stops recording information for long enough that it is no longer able to form new memories. This can happen due to a number of factors, including stress on the hippocampus, alcohol consumption or other drugs.
The hippocampus is one of the oldest parts of the brain and plays a role in the formation, storage and retrieval of memories. Drinking can affect a variety of processes, including the manufacture of a specific steroid hormone that boosts the long-term potentiation (LTP) of synapses in the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is a complex area of the brain, and it has the ability to record and store data in the form of short-term memory, which is typically transferred into long-term memory (also called a memory consolidation). This process isn’t always easy to do when you’re drunk, as communication between neurons in the brain is disrupted. This is a big reason why people are so often unable to remember events they’ve had too much to drink.
When a person blacks out their hippocampus, they are unable to remember any of the events that occur during the night before. This is known as a memory blackout and can be quite scary.
This happens when alcohol interferes with the process of memory consolidation. The hippocampus is responsible for moving information from short-term memories into long-term memory.
Researchers have found that excessive alcohol consumption causes a chemical reaction in the brain that disrupts this process. This results in the brain being unable to form new memories.
The memory gaps that result from a blackout are temporary and can be recalled with cues, such as images or words. However, complete blackouts, or en bloc blackouts, are permanent and can feel like time has been erased.
Blackouts occur when a person's brain is unable to record memories due to heavy drinking, substance misuse or some other condition. These periods of amnesia can last from a few minutes to several hours.
During these times, the person can still make decisions, hold conversations and continue to drink alcohol, but they will not remember anything that happened during this time. This is extremely dangerous as the person could attempt to drive, have unsafe sex or perform other risky behaviors that can lead to permanent harm and even death.
Blackouts can happen to anyone, but are more common among young people and university students. This is because adolescents are at a vulnerable age and can be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than adults.