View Full Version : Post Booze Blackout - Filling In The Blanks...

12-17-2011, 08:40 PM
Post-booze blackout, how people fill in the blanks
By Cari Nierenberg/MSNBC

Getting hammered to the point of not remembering much, if anything, about it is a pretty common experience for some people on college campuses or during a long holiday weekend. Reconstructing what happened during a bout of booze-fueled amnesia can either make for a hilarious movie plot like "The Hangover" or an interesting research project.
Although not inspired by the Hollywood blockbuster, a recent study looked at alcohol-induced memory blackouts hoping to learn how people "fill in the blanks" afterward and whether this information is accurate. Researchers found that people frequently turn to unreliable sources to piece together these forgotten memories.
In the study, published in the journal Memory, 280 British college students completed an online survey. Students were asked whether they had experienced either a partial blackout -- where they remembered bits and pieces of what happened after they started drinking, or a total one -- forgetting everything about what they did or saw until they woke up the next day.
Among the students who drank, 24 percent of them admitted to having a total blackout while 37 percent had a partial one. Drinking a lot within a short period of time typically causes a blackout, explains lead author Robert Nash.
Researchers found that blackout sufferers were somewhat more likely to ask people who had also been intoxicated for details of the hazy episode rather than asking people who weren't drunk but had also witnessed it. Nearly 44 percent said they had seen a photograph or video reminding them of what happened.
"I was surprised at how highly motivated people were to reconstruct these forgotten alcohol-soaked experiences, despite knowing that doing so can often lead to considerable embarrassment or panic," admits Nash, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England.
He says asking other people who were there is often the only way we can find out what happened. But that relying on friends or acquaintances who were probably drunk can make their recollections less than 100 percent reliable.
Unreliable sources can lead to memory errors and sometimes false beliefs about behaviors during a forgotten time-period. This may be true not only for boozy blackouts but for other past experiences, whether it's cobbling together childhood memories or even in cases of wrongful conviction.
Interestingly roughly three-quarters of the study participants admitted they might have unintentionally made up information when a friend passed out, such as claiming the person had sex with a stranger or puked on someone.
And nearly 17 percent of blackout sufferers later discovered they were misled by incorrect information, often coming from friends.
But having a blackout and being eager to know what happened, seems perhaps to change people's perspectives on whether a particular source could be trusted, Nash points out. "So we place faith in information sources that we would othewise consider highly untrustworthy."
His advice? "Be aware when reconstructing events of whether you are placing trust in a source because someone is truly reliable or because that person is the only option."

12-17-2011, 08:42 PM
About last night: Biology of the booze blackout
By Kimberly Hayes Taylor

If your friend gets sloshed at a party, then swirls her clothing in the air while wildly dancing atop a table and swears not remembering it, don’t blame it on the alcohol. Blame it on the brain receptors.
Neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified brain cells and function that allow extremely intoxicated people to perform complex tasks such as dancing, debating or even driving home without having any recollection of it the next day.
In the study published in the July 6 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers reported they previously believed consuming large amounts of alcohol killed brain cells, and that explained the temporary amnesia commonly called blackouts. They now understand alcohol interferes with brain receptors that produce steroids, which cause neurons essential to memory and learning to misfire.
“It’s been known for a long time that changes in the way neurons connect with each other underlies the ability to learn new things, and people thought alcohol blocks memory function,” says senior investigator Dr. Chuck Zorumski, the Samuel B. Guze Professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University. “It’s actually the main neurons or brain cells that shut themselves down when they’re exposed to alcohol.”
Once a person has even one blackout, it’s likely others will follow, Zorumski explains, and that could lead to disaster.
“If you drink enough alcohol, you will do things you won’t even realize you did the next day,” he says. “You will have conversations with people you won’t remember and put yourself in dangerous situations. You will get yourself in trouble, not remember and it may be the police explaining it to you.”
Neuroscientists unraveled the alcohol-induced blackout mystery while studying rat brain cells to understand why certain illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease affect people’s memory. When the rat brain cells were exposed to large amounts of alcohol, memory loss was significant.
Scientists also discovered stress and certain drugs affect memory. Additionally, a combination of alcohol and sedating drugs, such as Xanax, is more likely to cause blackouts than alcohol alone, the study reported.
However, in some medical situations, having a “blackout” can be beneficial -- and intentional.
“When you have surgical procedures done, and you get Propofol, Midazlam or another anesthesia,” Zorumski says, “you will have little memory of the procedure.”

12-17-2011, 08:43 PM
Why do hangovers seem so much worse as we get older?
By Melissa Dahl

Sometime tomorrow, around the time your alarm clock rings, you will hate yourself for trying to keep up with your college self this St. Patrick's Day. You used to be able to bounce right back from hangovers; now, if you have more than two pints of Guinness tonight you know you'll feel it in the morning. What happened?
It's not your imagination. Our bodies really do start to lose the capability to process booze as we get older, an alcohol expert explains.
"The critical enzymes for breaking down booze are somewhat diminished in efficiency as we age," says Jim Schaefer, an alcohol metabolism expert and an anthropology professor at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. The enzymes your body depends on to break down booze are alcohol dehydrogenase, or ALDH, and aldehyde dehydrogenase, or ADH. Excuse the alphabet soup, but ALDH breaks down ethanol (booze) into acetaldehyde, and then ADH breaks down the acetaldehyde into a non-toxic substance called acetic acid. "It has been suggested that acetaldehyde is one of the key toxic chemicals that influences the severity of a hangover," Schaefer says. "So any deterioration in ADH levels would contribute to worse hangovers."
Whiskey sales boom lifts Irish spirits
Another reason not to chase your college years tonight: Cheaper booze also tends to intensify hangovers. Inexpensive beer, wine and liquor are more likely to have higher congener content -- congeners are the "chemical soup" that results from the fermentation or distillation process, Schaefer explains. "The more expensive liquors are often filtered and triple or more distilled -- thus, cleaner alcohol, less junk," he says.
"As we age, we may be unable to avoid chemical changes that could be wrecking the efficiency of our liver, and we should avoid lousy intoxicants, as they are guaranteed to cause digestive or metabolic discomfort," Schaefer adds.
Let's review: If you are past your college drinkin' days, don't throw back a bunch of green-tinted Miller High Lifes. If you must imbibe tonight, stick to the fancy stuff, and your pounding headache Friday morning will be at least a little less pound-y.
Do you feel your hangovers have gotten worse as you've aged? At what age did you notice it? Or, do you generally avoid drinking enough booze to cause a hangover?

Every Mother's Fear
12-25-2011, 12:46 PM
Been there. Done that. Never again... Nothing worse than waking up hung over as a broke dick dog in God knows where, wondering how the hell you ever got there...

Being sober does have it's attributes!


12-25-2011, 03:30 PM
Back in the daze when you attended PPV in a movie theater, we had a planned get together. By the time of the main event half the guys were so FU'd they 'watched' it out cold on the floor between the two seat rows. On the way home they'd occasionally mumble from the dark recesses of the back seat what a great time they had. Don't miss those daze . . .