Blacked Out

As college students, we hear it all the time; "Dude I was blacked out last night" or "I don't remember what happened cause I was blacked out." In fact, it is a term that is thrown around very commonly at universities across America, almost in a way that makes it seem natural or acceptable. However, a vast majority of students are uneducated about what a blackout really is and how potentially dangerous it could be.

According to medical terminology, a blackout occurs due to extreme overconsumption of alcohol resulting in the blood flow to the central retinal artery being temporarily decreased. Blackouts can cause total memory loss, loss of consciousness, and most importantly the ability to think rationally. During a blackout, receptors in the hippocampus of the brain which are responsible for memory shut down as the brain transitions to focusing on maintaining basic regulatory functions that one needs to survive, such as breathing. The brain is severely impaired which can lead to extremely hazardous decision making and judgement. Blackout

Despite the potential negative effects of a blackout being so high, college students continue to engage in aggressive drinking activity.A survey conducted about a year ago with a sample size of close to 1,000 students at 5 different universities revealed that close to 50% of them said that they have experienced a blackout at least once in their college careers. Of these occurrences, about 1/3 of them resulted in a trip to the emergency room, totaling near $500,000 in medical expenses. 

In fact, on a somber note, Penn State has seen first-hand the potential consequences of aggressive binge drinking. In September of 2009, freshman Joe Dado was tragically found dead after falling nearly 15 feet and suffering head trauma. Dado was last seen at a fraternity party and alcohol was involved.

As students who attend universities where drinking culture is promoted and often encouraged, we all need to be more aware and self-regulating of the potential harm that aggressive binge drinking can lead to. Of course, we all want to have fun during the best years of our lives but no one's family wants to get the phone call regarding something tragic that happened to their loved one due to overconsumption of alcohol. 


The term black out is something I hear almost every weekend. As you stated in your blog, during a blackout extreme lack of judgement ensues and often times horrible consequences are the result in the morning after (if there even is one). It is a casual term that I hear and often is an excuse as to why someone did something the night before. Uncontrollable binge drinking is seen at most colleges and hospitalization is common as well. The idea of a black out is a frightening one. Your body will shut down unnecessary functions, such as memory or consciousness to survive. Once you hit that point in the night, your body is literally fighting for your life. Not only are there immediate consequences to a blackout, but over time blacking out can result in extensive heart and liver damage. So next time you hear the term casually thrown around, think about the dangers associated with it.

I think this is a blog post that every one should read. Blackouts are an occurrence that happens way to frequently these days. This is a scary thought especially with the facts that you stated above. I think education on blackouts would make them seem less cool therefore leading to people drinking less. Many college students just drink so much because they want to fit in and get peer pressured to drink so much.

This particular blog is really great. Blacking out has become all too common at universities across America. Everyone thinks it's so cool to not have control over your mind and body, to not remember anything the next. What people don't know however is that just as "fun" as blacking out might be, it's ten times as dangerous. According to Psychology Today the estimated BAC count for blackouts ranges at a beginning of .14%-.20%. However, another common term that has been lingering the universities is "browning out" which is just a step below blacking out. Although the effects are not as intense or handicapping as blacking out, browning out causes individuals to only remember certain activities throughout the time of drinking.

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

Naps are good for you!!! Say whaaaaaa
Are you tired of your parents getting aggravated at you for taking power naps between classes because they think…
The Messier The Smarter...?
We have all seen babies play with their food, throw it all over their face, and paint the table…
Short Term Repetition
I read a blog that made me think about how we learn. What makes us get that A on…

Old Contributions