Not everyone gets blackouts, but if you do they can be frightening. When you experience a blackout, alcohol actually prevents the formation of memories. It stops neurotransmitters from imprinting memories from short to long term.


The blood alcohol content (BAC) for blackouts begins at 0.14.

Partial blackout

This is when you forget information you already know, like your phone number or address. If prompted you’re likely to recall that piece of information.

A complete blackout can last for minutes, hours and even days.

Complete blackout

With a complete blackout you are physically able to function but your decisions and judgement are severely impaired. You have little control over your emotions and your behaviour can be unpredictable. It can last for minutes, hours and even days. When prompted you will be unable to remember anything of that period of time, ever. Those memories were never recorded.

 Closeup of medical drugs on stainless tray

Don’t mix alcohol and medication.

To help prevent blackouts follow these tips:

  • Eat before you drink

  • Stay hydrated and try alternating alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks

  • Avoid mixing medication with alcohol

  • Avoid drinking games

If you are experiencing blackouts it is best to speak to a health professional or local alcohol treatment provider.

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