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Blackout After 2 Drinks – What’s Wrong with Me!
Can it really be possible to blackout after 2 drinks?
Yes, it can.
Blacking out can be a frightening experience. Waking up to fragmented memories and attempting to string them together can be harrowing.
As founder of The Alcohol Coach and ex-blackout drinker, I remember not remembering only too well.
For me, it was more than 2 drinks that caused me to blackout, and in truth, sometimes I did black out and other times I didn’t, and there was no knowing in advance if I did or not.
I am also sure there were times when memory was fragmented and went unnoticed. Either way, being blackout drunk is a cause of confusion and anxiety.
As a woman, if I had drunk the same amount as a man, it is more likely that I would black out than the man. Here’s why.
Women Blackout Drinking More Easily than Men
As a woman, tolerance for alcohol is less than men’s, and a blackout can happen even after only 2 drinks, and typically occurs after around 4 to 6 drinks.
You can appear sober, coherent, and seemingly function normally, and also be in a blackout state. Those who know you well may notice glassy eyes as there’s no one home, even though you are talking and acting like you are there.
Because women are smaller than men and their bodies have a higher percentage of fat this means that there is less water in their bodies to dilute the alcohol that is consumed.
What this means is that a woman’s blood alcohol level rises faster than a man’s, and it is the rapid rise of blood alcohol levels that can cause a blackout.
A study at the University of California in 2017 found that women regularly blackout more often than men with three fewer drinks, understudy in 2015 showed that only one more drink than usual being consumed by a woman led to a 13% higher chance of blacking out.
This is why there are reported incidents of women suffering from a blackout after 2 drinks. Drinking on an empty stomach and drinking rapidly are also associated with a higher likelihood of blacking out. So try eating beforehand and drinking slowly.
Studies have also shown that if you drink a lot and often, and do suffer from memory lapse, then it is likely that blackouts and brownouts may occur more often.
What Is the Difference Between a Drinking Blackout and A Brown Out Drunk Episode
Both blackouts and brownouts are caused by the brain, and in particular the hippocampus, not being able to form memory.
It is believed that as blood alcohol levels fluctuate the memory may come and go over an evening and this is called a brownout.
What it means is that when you wake up in the morning you will remember elements of an evening and then there will be gaps when there is no memory at all.
A blackout is a term used to describe complete memory loss possibly over several hours and during which time the drinker was still able to function.
The level of functionality may vary from a drinker appearing seemingly normal to appearing drunk and out of control. Following a blackout, there is no memory at all during the period that the black out last for.
Blackout Every Time I Drink
If you blackout every time you drink it will be because your blood alcohol levels are spiking whilst you drink, and a regular blackout is not only frightening to wake up to it is a dangerous position to be in.
If you blackout every time you drink, then it is advisable to do what you can to avoid this. As has already been suggested some key things you can do ought to make sure that you eat before you drink and pace your drinking during the evening.
Blackouts tend to occur when alcohol is consumed quickly and blood alcohol levels (technically, Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC) peak quickly.
Blackouts and binge drinking tend to go hand in hand. In fact, many people who have blackouts do so after engaging in high-intensity drinking.
High-intensity drinking is the term which is defined as drinking at levels that are at least twice as high as the binge-drinking thresholds for women and men.
If you are worried about a blackout every time you drink, then what you are probably referring to is blackouts every time you drink a lot, or that every time you drink a lot.
That magic amount, ‘a lot’ varies for different women depending on your body weight as a key factor. Again, it comes down to the peak levels of Blood Alcohol Concentration.
Many of my clients and myself included had multiple and regular blackout episodes when drinking. Some of the episodes were brown-out fragmented memory loss and sometimes it was a complete blackout out.
As I have said, women tend to reach higher peak BAC levels than men with each drink and do so more quickly.
This helps explain why being female appears to be a risk factor for having blackouts, and so binge drinking and high-intensity drinking increases that risk further.
It may surprise you to hear that these clients are working, often professional women. Women with homes, families, and lives that they mostly feel they have control of.
But waking up in the morning to find that there are large chunks of the night before that can’t be remembered is a frightening experience.
Waking up to blackout drunk memory loss causes anxiety, an assumption of guilt, and larger questions in ‘what happened last night?’
I have women who wake up with bruises that they can’t explain, who can’t remember how they got home last night, and who find texts on their phones that they are ashamed that they sent. But who sent the messages, who fell over and had the bruises, and who got home by amnesia?
The answer is that it was you. You were walking, you were talking, and you were apparently functioning without any recollection.
It is effectively like someone else was in control of your body, your actions, and your words during those hours, and that is why it can be a lightning bolt of a wake-up call to realise that this has happened to you, and may be happening to you often.
Maybe you came to this article after several episodes of partial or complete blackout and then when you have a blackout after 2 drinks, it’s a big question about ‘how can this happen to me?’
Blackout Drunk Mistakes– What’s Wrong with Me!
Everyone has their own stories of mistakes that they made during a drunk blackout.
Many of my clients come to me because they are fearful of what may happen in the future if they drink and blackout.
One of the most common fears is getting in a car and driving, being able to function, and being in a black out
When Hannah woke up in her bed and home and wondered how she got there, her mind started searching for answers. When she found bruises on her arms, she was even more concerned.
She checked her phone for clues and saw several calls out to her ex-husband at 3am and 4am that went unanswered.
This wasn’t the first time that this had happened, and Hannah booked a call with me because she was exhausted with the mental strain of waking up after blackouts, trying to piece things together, and wondering if she should be hiding away from her friends and compensating with her teenage children for what she doesn’t remember.
On Monday morning, she brushed herself down and went back to the law firm she works at.
Linda regularly woke up in the bed of men who she didn’t know, only to glance across at the head on the pillow next to her, and groan inwardly, ‘not again!’
She had no memory of how she got there. All she had was a memory of drinking with one of her girlfriends in a wine bar, and the next was a complete drunk blackout. Linda is a senior executive in a marketing agency.
Jill regularly wakes up not remembering a row with her husband as she quietly makes her morning coffee as he avoids her, and her grown-up children no longer call around so often.
She then puts on her lipstick, and overcoat and arrives for her shift as an A&E consultant.
These stories are the ones that are seldom spoken about and are increasingly common.
Alcohol is a highly addictive drug built on a lifetime of social conditioning that causes women to blame themselves for their lack of control and to believe that there is something wrong with them. The reality is that alcohol hijacks our natural biology, and that causes us to get caught in the loop of drinking, blackout, and regret.
The women I speak to all make the same mistakes with alcohol before we come together. I have seen these mistakes so often that I have put together a free Masterclass just for women so that if this article resonates with you, it will help you too. Click here for your spot.
Hi, I'm Michela
I’m a leader in the science of transformational freedom for women, and someone previously addicted to alcohol. I have walked the path. I understand your concerns and fears. Here you will find some of my thoughts and insights. Happy browsing!
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