How to Deal With Trauma-Driven Alcohol Blackouts
Memory lapses in the morning after a stormy night, or trauma-related alcohol amnesia, are relatively common. A person recalls the last day’s events in fragments, and in some cases, large segments fall out of memory. It is because alcohol metabolites destroy connections between neurons, delay the transmission of nerve impulses and make it difficult to store information.
Alcohol abuse occurs in numerous men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The combination of alcoholism and PTSD is significantly more likely to lead to low income, unemployment, and impaired social functioning than when these disorders are apart. It is partly due to the difficulty of simultaneously treating both diseases. Nevertheless, there are ways to manage alcoholism and prevent ptsd alcohol blackout.
What is alcoholic amnesia?
Amnesia, or palimpsest caused by joy juice intake, is the inability of the memory to reproduce specific details over a certain period. This phenomenon often occurs in people who have post-traumatic stress disorder because they try to get away with their bad feelings.
Ethanol destroys neural connections and blocks the passage of impulses along nerve fibers. The parts of the brain that are in charge of instant and long-term memory suffer the most from it. The destruction of stable synaptic connections leads to a person losing the ability to concentrate, learn, and navigate in space. Then comes the degradation of the individual.
How memory lapses and ptsd alcohol blackout appears
All human brain functions are very closely interconnected. Our memory is the leading resource of intelligence. The influence of alcohol on the brain is complex. Not only does memory suffer, but also thinking, the ability to analyze, perceive and decide. Most often, a ptsd alcohol blackout occurs after a plentiful and prolonged feast. Ethanol is instantly absorbed into the gastric mucosa and immediately penetrates the blood, from where it enters the brain, where it begins its harmful effects.
The causes of memory loss after alcohol lie in its effect on nerve endings. Quite quickly, ethyl reaches the brain regions, where it begins to irritate the nerve endings. Ultimately, the fibers of the nervous tissue are destroyed, which leads to amnesia. Memory loss with joy juice can occur after blackout drinking. Such symptoms are the first and very alarming call that speaks of the development of alcoholism.
Types of memory loss
There are two types of memory loss:
- The most common form is fragmentary memory loss. In narcology, this phenomenon is called palimpsests. A person has fragments of events in his memory. Based on the analysis, he cannot form a coherent idea of what happened in a given period since he does not remember several essential details.
- Total memory loss is a severe form of amnesia when a person does not remember anything from what happened for several hours. In this case, it is most often impossible to restore events in memory since the brain did not even register them.
- Fragmentary memory loss is widespread. Between 30 and 50% of young people who drink joy juice admit that they have suffered memory loss at least once. Memory loss occurs when a specific concentration of alcohol in the blood is reached. Amnesia can result from blackout drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short time.
The work of the hippocampus and its influence
The hippocampus is responsible for memory and storing all the information in the human brain. It is a paired organ that is located in the temporal lobes of each side of the head. The tasks of the nerve cells of the hippocampus include the conversion of signals from the head cortex into memory (short- and long-term).
The hippocampus encodes signals, but if a person is in a state of intoxication, the neurons of this paired organ begin to isolate, losing the ability to convert the received signals and put them away for storage. The result is blackouts.
Like any other part of the body, the brain receives the necessary nutrition through the bloodstream. Ethanol disrupts the structure of red blood cells, destroying the protective membrane of the cells. As a result, erythrocytes stick together, creating a blood clot and clogging blood vessels. As a result, the level of oxygen supply to the organs and systems of the body decreases sharply — hypoxia and mass death of nerve cells set in. Consequently, significant loss of neurons leads to numerous structural changes in brain activity, particularly memory.
Further damage from alcohol
The detrimental effect of ethanol also applies to the reserves of vitamins B6 and C vital for brain health. Under the influence of alcohol, these beneficial compounds are actively washed out of the body, depleting human strength.
With prolonged chronic alcoholism, not only short-term memory suffers. A person completely loses memories of some days of life events. The death of long-term memory begins, occurring against the backdrop of global structural changes in the brain. Often the medulla of alcoholics dries up. In this situation, it is already impossible to return the memory.
What are the dangers of blackouts during intoxication?
If the toxic effect of alcohol was so strong that it led to blackout, the consequences for the brain could be compared to a concussion. This kind of brain injury occurs every time a person drinks till blackout. It negatively affects the state of the brain:
- Mental activity worsens.
- The ability to memorize and assimilate new information disappears even in a sober state.
- A person is not able to solve complex cognitive problems.
Pathology becomes chronic and leads to gradual degradation, the disintegration of personality, narrowing of interests, loss of basic skills.
Following the brain, the central nervous system begins to work worse. Tremors, nervous tics, convulsions manifest it. The mental state becomes unstable. It can be depressed, depressive, anxious, outbreaks of aggression are possible. Sleep does not bring rest. It is short, superficial, disturbing, often with painful, frightening dreams.
Another aspect is the lack of control. With severe alcohol intoxication, behavior changes. People can become aggressive, conflict, and commit crimes. Often they lose personal belongings, keys, phones, wallets. In other cases, a person himself becomes a victim of criminals but does not remember this. In the later stages of alcohol addiction, a person may wake up in unfamiliar places, not remembering anything about how he got here and why, where he is.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
PTSD and alcohol abuse usually coexist. The likelihood varies depending on the type and severity of the traumatic event. However, studies have shown that a person with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder is much more likely to abuse alcohol. Drinking joy juice can relieve anxiety associated with post-traumatic stress disorder for a short time.
For some alcoholics, PTSD is a constant companion and a considerable burden both as a cause and result of addiction. People with PTSD are very likely to treat their symptoms (sleep disturbances, nightmares, agitation, ptsd alcohol blackout, anxiety, etc.) with alcohol or drugs for various reasons. Patients with this disease are treated with medication and psychotherapy, here also EMDH, as the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder prevent rehabilitation. Nevertheless, it should not be expected that PTSD therapy during the rehabilitation period will be so extensive that the symptoms disappear. Accordingly, after rehabilitation, further psychiatric-psychotherapeutic treatment is required. If PTSD is left untreated, abstinence will not last long.
The connection between blackout and PTSD
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental disorder, the cause of which is the destructive effect of a powerful traumatic effect. It can be physical, sexual violence, humiliation, fear, etc. PTSD can appear after a person has been in a natural disaster area, has become a participant in hostilities, victim of terrorist attacks, etc. This problem can also be faced by people who did not participate, for instance, in hostilities but were involved in the aftermath or were in contact with the victims.
In one study of participants with more severe PTSD symptoms, the researchers found a stronger association between ptsd alcohol blackout and the need to regulate negative affect (coping reasons). In addition, among those with more severe PTSD, there were stronger associations between negative attitudes towards distress and the effects of alcohol use. Consequently, for individuals with severe PTSD, learning to perform uncomfortable activities may be associated with a reduced likelihood of co-abuse. There was a significant association between blackout drinking and avoiding stressful situations in the group with less intense PTSD symptoms, which contradicts the researchers’ hypothesis.
The development of alcoholism and memory loss in PTSD
Survivors of PTSD are at significant risk of developing alcoholism because they often use alcohol as a medicine to relieve stress and anxiety. With the development of stress disorder, drunkenness becomes more severe systemic. It is proposed to consider blackout alcohol consumption as a comorbid pathology in cases where the frequent intake of alcoholic beverages is detected before the mental trauma that caused PTSD. In this case, it is advisable to make a dual diagnosis: stress disorder and alcohol dependence. When the systematic intake of alcohol till blackout occurs against the background of mental trauma, it is regarded as a complication of stress disorder. The revealed significance of age and psychological, social, and socio-psychological risk factors indicate the need for an integrated approach to solving this problem.
Alcohol, in particular, is used by numerous people living with stress disorders to relieve or at least suppress their PTSD symptoms. Although some people with PTSD are chronic alcoholics or blackout drinkers, studies have shown that a disproportionate number of them are heavy drinkers. Drinkers with PTSD are reactive; they drink large amounts of alcohol in response to the provoked re-experiencing and experiencing hurtful events.
How to deal with dependence
Successful treatment of combined post-traumatic stress disorder with blackout drinking requires that both problems be treated together or simultaneously. Dealing with these problems usually includes education, therapy, medication, and support groups. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), especially exposure therapy, is the most effective counseling in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Cognitive therapy brings the traumatic event to the surface and exposes it so that its memory can disappear.
There are several popular ways to get rid of cravings for joy juice, which are associated with injuries that a person has experienced:
- Medical. These can be pills that suppress addiction and droppers. A doctor should select medications; if you do it yourself, you can make a mistake with the dosages or compatibility of the drugs, which will lead to a worsening of the condition.
- Psychotherapy. This method includes attending meetings of alcoholics and counseling. Treatment of alcohol addiction with psychotherapy is widespread in Western countries. It helps to reduce the role of PTSD in a person’s life and get rid of obsessive thoughts about the need to drink alcohol to forget their problems and what the person has experienced.
- There is a need for complete abstinence from alcohol without medication and outside help. It helps only at the first stage, and a sincere, strong desire to recover is required.
Moreover, prolonged exposure therapy (PE) is an evidence-based method for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. The patient repeatedly encounters trauma over a series of sessions and is then asked to report the thoughts and feelings they experience. It helps to relieve stress and to stay strong.
Nevertheless, physical withdrawal in traumatized people is a problem because, in addition to the withdrawal symptoms, these patients also suffer from recurring symptoms of the trauma-related disorder. They can often only be relieved with a temporarily higher dose of medication.
Treatment in centers
Dealing with blackout trauma-driven drinking, specialists use the following scheme:
- After withdrawal from blackout drinking and detoxification, the client enters outpatient treatment.
- The client is given an individual and intensive therapy plan developed by the therapy team leader and therapists.
- Rehabilitation and resocialization. The client learns to live without old habits and alcohol.
- Additionally, a psychological course is conducted for relatives of addicts.
What to do in such cases when memory disappears after blackout drinking? It is vital to treat alcohol addiction. It is worth visiting an expert as early as possible. Otherwise, the memory will gradually disappear. With the help of ecosoberhouse.com, people will be able to leave their bad habits. Contact professionals and they will help you create a new life.