How are blackouts caused by alcohol different from repressed memories caused by trauma?

This can be due to chronic stresses, such as being foreclosed on or having someone close to you pass away. When you drink excessively, the alcohol can affect the area of your brain called the hippocampus, blocking the transfer of your memories from your short-term to your long-term storage. While these tips don’t work for everyone, they may help you avoid the worst effects of drinking too much. Drink slowly and mix it up with water or non-alcoholic drinks in between alcoholic beverages to prevent blackouts. Insomnia can be caused by other PTSD symptoms such as stress, anxiety, agitation, and fear — all of which can spike your body’s cortisol and adrenaline levels to keep you awake. Alcoholics who continue experiencing anxiety, flashbacks, and fear in wake of traumatic events may eventually be diagnosed with PTSD.


Epilepsy may mimic psychogenic blackouts but is caused by abnormal brain activity. Someone with a diagnosis of psychogenic blackouts will have normal brain activity with the episodes they experience, even if they appear to be having a seizure. Post-traumatic stress disorder develops in about one in 11 Americans. Learn more about common PTSD risk factors and how ketamine infusion therapy can provide the symptom relief you need to keep your PTSD under control.

What to do after a blackout?

A affects the decision-making ability of an individual, pushing them to partake in dangerous behaviors and even perform illegal activities for which they would have to face legal consequences. While some people may not blackout upon binge drinking, it is important to note that heavy drinking may still have negative effects on their brain. Alcohol use disorders are diagnosed when a person’s consumption or use of alcohol results in other problems in their work, school, relationships, or health. Some people suffering from alcohol use disorders or alcoholism will drink to the point that they have a blank spot in their memory; this is known as a blackout. “Blackouts are much more common among social drinkers—including college drinkers—than was previously assumed, and have been found to encompass events ranging from conversations to intercourse” . In certain social circles, binge drinking and blacking out can be the point of partying.

Having ptsd drinking blackout increases the risk that you will develop a drinking problem. Also, drinking problems put people at risk for traumatic events that could lead to PTSD. A alcohol and PTSD blackout is an interval of time during which you cannot remember certain events while consuming alcohol, and usually happens after binge drinking sessions related to reliving trauma. Tull MT, Barrett HM, McMillan ES, Roemer L. A preliminary investigation of the relationship between emotion regulation difficulties and posttraumatic stress symptoms. This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice.


Passing out can be harmful if a person falls and experiences an injury. They may also suffer from a seizure from the amount of alcohol they consumed. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that plays an essential role in forming memories. When you participate in excessive drinking, this part of the brain essentially turns off. Heart palpitations and other mental and bodily reactions to stressful events are brought on by anxiety. Anxiety triggers the fight-or-flight reaction, which raises the heart rate of the person.



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