Is it normal to blackout when drinking?

Jessica Kennedy, Mental Health America

We don’t want to judge, but… no, it’s not normal. And it’s not good.

“Blacking out” is when you don’t remember what happened when you were drinking (or using another drug).

Many of us have blacked out before. It happens when you drink a lot, or drink too fast. Some people experience it a few times in their lives. And while it can seem funny to joke that you didn’t remember the night before, it’s not funny. Blacking out is getting you closer and closer to serious consequences of alcohol overdose, like coma or death.

You may black out if you forget to eat, drink a lot in a short period of time, or take shots (that lower your inhibitions so you take more shots) in short succession before you “feel” the alcohol kick in.

If you’ve blacked out once or twice (like just last night for the first time), don’t sweat it. You may have done some embarrassing things that you don’t remember. Just recognize that those are the consequences of heavy drinking and avoid that in the future.

You may also be blacking out regularly because you are drinking too much. If you are blacking out regularly—or “browning out,” which is similar but you can remember events when reminded of them—you are regularly drinking too much to be safe. Even if it isn’t affecting your life—and if you’re drinking enough to black out regularly, it’s hard to imagine it isn’t—you are doing serious damage to your body and your liver.

This should be discussed with a doctor or a substance use professional before you hurt yourself or someone else.

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