Here Is What Happens When You Black Out


If you’ve ever experienced a blackout or know someone who has, you know they can be pretty scary.

Blackouts have long been linked exclusively to alcoholics, but the reality is it can happen to anyone who drinks. According to Aaron White, senior advisor to the director at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

“Anyone can black out at least once, if you drink in the right way– or the wrong way.”

Blackouts usually occur in one of two ways. The first is known as an en bloc blackout and occurs when an entire chunk of a person’s memory is wiped out. The second, which is more common, is oftentimes referred to as a brownout. In this case, the person loses pieces or fragments of their memory, but still has a pretty good recollection of what happened.

In either scenario, memories are non-existent because they weren’t stored in the first place. The person who blacks out won’t remember what they did or said. It’s as if everything that passed during that time-lapse didn’t really happen for them.

To make matters worse, you probably won’t be able to tell when a person is blacked out. During a blackout, the drinker’s short-term memory is generally fine and he or she is capable of functioning as normal. They may be able to eat, drink and carry on a conversation as usual.

However, underneath this facade, more complex things are happening at the chemical level within the person’s brain. Alcohol impairs the encoding of contextual memories within the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with learning and involved in the formation of new memories. White explains that during a blackout,

“Your brain is sending information to the hippocampus, and it falls into a void.”

“The hippocampus doesn’t tie it together, or it skips a little bit.”

Factors that put you at risk of blacking out include how fast your blood alcohol content rises and whether or not you are a woman. Women have less alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that helps break down alcohol, than their male counterparts do.

So before you take those tequila shots, please remember to drink responsibly.

Written by Laura Dang of NextShark || Source: The Atlantic


New Study Reveals 30% Of Americans Are Actually Alcoholics


About 30% of Americans — over 96 million — have a drinking problem, according to a new study.

The study’s analyses were based on new standards set forth by the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-5), the diagnostic bible for mental health professionals, for alcohol use disorder (AUD), a combination of previously used categories “alcohol abuse” and “alcohol dependence.”

The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, used data from face-to-face interviews in 2012 and 2013 of over 36,000 adults about their drinking habits over the past year, as conducted for the third National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

The team of researchers behind the study found that about 3 out of every 10 Americans has had alcoholism-related symptoms at some point in their lives. Only one-fifth had sought professional help.

According to the study, the most affected groups were men (17.6% over the past year, 36% lifetime), whites (14% and 32.6%, respectively), and Native Americans (19.2 percent and 43.4 percent, respectively).

Most alarming, however, is the rising prevalence of severe AUD (meeting at least 6 of the DSM-5’s 11 criteria for alcohol use disorder) among young people (those aged 18-29). The researchers said in their report:

“Emerging adulthood is becoming an increasingly vulnerable period for Alcohol Use Disorder onset. (The results) suggest an urgent need to develop and implement more effective prevention and intervention efforts.”

The average consumption of alcohol on a global scale has reportedly declined, but binge drinking, on the contrary, is increasing among the younger generations in OECD countries, due to alcohol’s higher availability and cheaper advertising in those market-economy nations. The consequences of excessive alcohol consumption is extremely costly, and yet, millions of people are still heavily affected.

According to the study’s researchers, efforts to reduce excessive alcohol consumption begin with alerting communities and authorities about the urgency of alcohol use disorder and its treatments. They said that communities need to destigmatize the disorder and encourage affected individuals to admit that they have a problem.

Written by Max Chang of NextShark || h/t: Pacific Standard


Alcoholism in Britain? There’s a Pill for That


Everything’s coming up binge drinkers!

Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved the use of Nalmefene, a drug that curbs alcohol dependence. NICE serves the English and Welsh National Health Services (NHS) which allows both nations to join Scotland in prescribing the drug.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approved Nalmefene last year to combat the country’s considerably higher rate of alcohol-related deaths, but all three nations require counseling along with the pill.

Got your acronyms down?

NICE expects 35,000 people to receive the Chantix of alcohol dependency in the first year, but only 53 people in Scotland were prescribed the drug since it hit the market.

Chalk it up to denial?

Since a recent study showed that most Americans who think they might be alcoholics are just excessive drinkers, the target demographic for Nalmefene, the drug may soon be Food and Drug Administration (FDA–acronym game strong) approved for more than opioid dependence.

Whether or not this use of the drug crosses the pond, it’s an interesting, albeit pricey, way to deal with a growing problem.

Pop Quiz: Still remember those acronyms?

H/T: The Guardian



The Way We Pour Wine is Affecting How Much We Drink, Says Science


Maybe you’re still hungover from the weekend. Maybe you’ve gone broke from all the wine pairing parties you host. Maybe you’re just a hypochondriac. Whatever the case, you’ve been feeling like you should cut back on the bubbly, but you don’t want to stop drinking entirely.

Luckily, all it might take to cut around 10% of your wine drinking is figuring out the proper way to pour. According to a joint research study out of Iowa State and Cornell, little visual tricks such as wine glass size and even mood lighting could seriously affect how we consume wine and how we interpret the sheer amount of wine we’re drinking. They asked 73 over-21 college students to pour themselves wine at a variety of different stations, where they manipulated various environmental cues and measured the results.

With our hats tipped to those fine guinea pigs, here are a few tips we gleaned on how to drink less/save cash and calories/basically, turn into a f@#king bore:

When selecting a glass, try to choose a taller one with a narrower mouth. Sure, champagne flutes can feel like nothing sometimes, but since we’re visual creatures, something about seeing our vintage fall higher in the glass tricks us into thinking we’re drinking more, up to 12% more (folks toting wider-glasses tended to overdrink).

Also make sure to pour on a table as opposed to in your hand. Not only is this more stable, but it makes you, fittingly, less heavy-handed. Table pourers drank around 12% less wine, according to the study.

Go red. Again, probably thanks to our trusty eyeballs, something about the contrast between the clear glass and red grapes helps us drink 9% less wine whenever we go Noir instead of Grigio. Hey, at least we’re 9% less likely to stain something, right?

H/T  NY Daily News