You had a good night with your friends. You remember meeting up and hanging out. Stories were shared, a movie popped in, and a joint was passed around. At some point, you remember some pills being brought out, which you think you participated in, but things started to get fuzzier after that.
The next thing you remember is waking up on a couch. Your friends say you passed out, it happens sometimes. However, several things happened between your last memory and you actually going unconscious, and you don’t remember any of it. Should you be concerned?
Drug use and its side effects aren’t always openly talked about, but with over 100,000 people reporting having a substance use disorder in Arizona, it’s a topic that should be cracked open. At Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we believe that there should be accessible and easy-to-understand information about drug use and what can happen because of it. We believe in treating not only our clients like family but also our community. That means answering the questions we hear most often and making sure people have access to this knowledge so they can make more informed decisions about their health. Today we’re going to look at drugs that cause blackouts, how they can impact you in the long run, and what steps you can take to prevent blackouts in the future.
What Is a Blackout?
A blackout is when a person experiences a loss of consciousness. It can also involve the time before passing out, which is usually accompanied by memory loss.
It’s important to note that blackouts aren’t always drug-related. They can happen from things like low blood sugar or a sudden drop in blood pressure. If you often experience blackouts, especially outside of drug use, it’s important to talk with a medical professional about it to make sure something more serious isn’t occurring.
What Happens to the Body When You Blackout?
When the brain isn’t receiving the oxygen it should, the risk of a blackout increases greatly. This can happen for a myriad of reasons, whether from low blood pressure not getting the proper amount of blood to the brain, to alcohol and other drugs impeding the bloodstream. If too much alcohol or other substances are going to the brain, it can become overwhelmed and memory loss and unconsciousness can occur.
What Are the Dangers of Blacking Out?
Our brain is one of the most important organs in our body. While one blackout, especially one unrelated to substance use, isn’t always a cause for concern, repeated blackouts can increase the risk of long-term damage.
When a blackout occurs due to low oxygen levels in the brain, this can eventually lead to potential damage if it happens often. In the case of low blood pressure or low blood sugar, these can often be mitigated with medications to help ensure future blackouts are far less likely to occur. Changes in diet and staying hydrated can also help in preventing blackouts.
In the case of substance use-related blackouts, long-term or high levels of substance use can lead to damage in the brain, too, outside of blackouts. The most common thing it can impact is your memory.
Blackouts: How They Affect Memory
Having high levels of alcohol or other substances in your body can lead to them eventually being in your brain. This is due to the liver only being able to process so much at once. Any remaining substance in the body still waiting to be processed can start to become more noticeable in the bloodstream and eventually travel up to the brain. High levels of toxins in the brain have been shown to impact memory. This can be anything from short-term memory loss to long-term symptoms like confusion and difficulty remembering things.
Blackouts linked with substance use often have a memory loss component to them. Frequent blackouts from substance use can lead to long-term memory loss and memory problems.
What Are the Most Common Drugs That Cause Blackouts?
Are certain drugs more likely to cause a blackout than others?
Most substances can cause loss of consciousness from overuse. This is usually related to overdosing, however. There are drugs that can mess with memory and consciousness, and this doesn’t necessarily mean the body is overdosing. The two most common substances that cause blackouts are alcohol and benzodiazepines.
Blacking Out From Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines, commonly known just as benzos, are known to have the potential side effect of difficulty with memory. Benzos are a prescription medication that is primarily utilized for anxiety, seizures, and sleep disorders. They’re depressants, meaning they slow down the body. Because of this, when taken in high doses, benzos can lead to unconsciousness. This is far more likely when they’re combined with other substances such as alcohol.
Blacking Out From Alcohol
Alcohol is one of the most common reasons behind blackouts. In fact, often when you search for “blackouts” many of the results revolve just around alcohol-related blackouts.
Blackouts from alcohol use are more likely to occur if you drink a lot of alcohol at once and/or if you’re drinking alcohol without also being fed and hydrated. Eating and hydrating properly, as well as drinking alcohol in moderation, can help reduce the risk of blackouts.
Most Common Blackout Drugs Used in Date Rapes
Substances that are used with the intention of purposefully making someone fall unconscious are not the same drugs that can sometimes lead to unconsciousness in high doses. The most common drugs used to cause blackouts are GHB, ketamine, and Rohypnol. These are the drugs you hear about in cases of date rape. If you ever feel suspicious that your drink might have been tampered with, it’s safest to throw it away. It’s also important to avoid taking substances from people you do not know.
Getting Help for Frequent Blackouts at Pinnacle Peak Recovery in Arizona
If you’ve experienced multiple blackouts in your life, or even just one, and you want to start taking the steps towards recovery, Pinnacle Peak is here to help. The journey to recovery from substance use is possible. Finding the tools you need to address alcohol use or substance use can help you recover from the effects of blackouts.
In the case of benzodiazepines and alcohol, a detox program is often the first step. Our team here at Pinnacle Peak can help you safely detox so you don’t have to worry about any potentially harmful side effects from withdrawal. Once you go through detox, our inpatient program can help you have a safe place to recover and learn the skills and tools you need to address long-term recovery.
We also offer other programs, as we know substance use is multi-faceted. These include support even when you leave, from outpatient and alumni programs to sober living, family therapy, and more. We offer a variety of evidence-based, holistic treatment modalities to help find the right combination to address your concerns and help you reach your healing goals.
If you want to get started, our team is ready to help. Give our Pinnacle Peak team a call anytime at (866) 377-4761 and we’ll be happy to get you started on your recovery journey in Arizona.
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What drugs commonly cause blackouts?
The most common causes of blackouts are benzodiazepines and alcohol use at high levels. Unconsciousness can also occur from most substances when an overdose is happening.
What are the warning signs of a blackout?
If you notice someone growing pale, swaying, becoming quiet, suddenly sweating, experiencing blurred vision or sudden anxiety – these can all be signs that they might pass out. Make sure you help them get to a seated or lying position. It can also help to hydrate or get fresh air.
What can cause blackouts?
Lack of oxygen to the brain, usually from low blood pressure, is one of the most common causes of a blackout. Excess substance use, especially from benzodiazepines or alcohol use, can also lead to a blackout.