Have you ever consumed so much alcohol that you wake up the next morning unable to remember events from the night before? Losing time and not remembering what happened after drinking too much is a called a blackout. It's not the same as passing out but blacking out can precede passing out. Blacking out from too much alcohol is very scary and extremely dangerous.
Blackouts are often associated with drinking too much alcohol or "binge drinking." Blackouts refer to a period when the drinker can't recall certain details, such as: people, places, time, and/or entire events. Depending on the individual, short or long periods of time can disappear.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that both males and females experience the same amount of blackouts. Though males tend to drink more often and heavily than women, men and women metabolize alcohol differently.
Binge drinking, which leads to blacking out, usually takes place when five or more drinks are consumed in about two hours. Binge drinking is common on college campuses and for people between 18 to 22 years of age. Blacking out is also common among high school students whose bodies are not used to drinking so much. If a person in high school begins binge drinking, this is usually an indicator that he or she will continue to abuse alcohol in college.
Binge drinking often causes blackouts to occur, but they can also be unpredictable. Sometimes, blackouts happen when only small amount of alcohol have been consumed. Blackouts can affect new drinkers and for anyone who pre-drinks (drinks before going out to a bar) are at a much higher risk for blacking out.
If you are of legal age and plan to drink alcohol, then make the decision to do so responsibly. Abusing alcohol is not cool and can have life altering consequences including DUI, fatal car crash, unwanted sexual conduct including rape, unknown injuries, and other harmful circumstances. If you're 21 or older, there's nothing wrong with drinking, but know your limits and don't overdo it.