There Is A Science Behind Blacking Out, And It's Actually Scarier Than You Think

There Is A Science Behind Blacking Out, And It's Actually Scarier Than You Think

Science confirms, blacking out is actually a bigger deal than you think.

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Have you ever woken up from a night out with your friends, confused how you got from Point A to Point B, or wondering why you blew up your ex's phone? Chances are you might have experienced alcohol-induced amnesia, more commonly referred to by college students as "blacking out." Although you have no recollection of what happened last night, this does not mean you passed out or were unconscious, actually, it's very likely that you could've held a conversation with some of your friends throughout the night and acted as if everything was normal.

With social drinking becoming more of a trend, blacking out is not uncommon among young adults, however, it is rather misunderstood.

While blacking out seems harmless and carefree, it is actually very dangerous, especially if your friends are unaware of how much you have had to drink and don't realize that you might need to be watched over.

There are two types of blackouts; en block, also referred to as a complete blackout, is when you wake up with no recollection whatsoever of the events that took place during the time that you were drinking. This occurs when information cannot be transferred from short-term to long-term storage during a drinking episode. You can sufficiently keep information in short-term memory to engage in conversations, drive a car (which you shouldn't do if you've been drinking any amount of alcohol), and participate in other activities. Nonetheless, this information is lost due to the brain's failure to transfer the person's short-term memory to long-term memory storage.

There is also fragmentary-memory loss, which means that you have some memory of some of the events that took place during the time of your drinking. This type of blackout is more common and occur when memory formation is only partially blocked. Unlike complete blackouts, fragmentary blackouts permit the recall of all memories that were stored during the drinking event, however, it might require some prompting or jogging of your memory.

Studies on blackouts show that although alcohol is required to initiate a blackout, alcohol alone (no matter the quantity) is not enough to cause a blackout to occur. Some studies show that it is possible for people to blackout even when they aren't at the peak of their alcohol consumption. There are several factors that affect blacking out, including drinking on an empty stomach or consuming a large quantity of alcohol in a short amount of time, due to the fact that this would raise your blood alcohol content (BAC).

Studies also show that women are at a higher risk for blacking out even if they consume less alcohol than their male counterparts. This is due to the fact that women have less water in their system in comparison to men, causing alcohol to be less diluted in their bloodstream.

Women also have a significantly lower concentration of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) metabolizes alcohol before it passes into the bloodstream. In turn, women have a higher blood alcohol content and experience greater intoxication than men.

Lastly, women, in general, have more body fat than men. Due to the fact that fat does not directly absorb alcohol, they maintain higher concentrations of alcohol in their bloodstream in comparison to men.

Besides causing damage to your memory, there are several risks associated with blacking out. According to a study performed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, college students who reported blacking out found that students often participated in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex, driving, and vandalism or destruction of property.

That being said, next time you decide to go out with your friends, remember to drink water and avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Although blacking out has become somewhat of a trend among young drinkers, the risks associated with it aren't worth it.

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Sorry I'm A Size 00

But I'm not really sorry.
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My whole life I’ve been thin—which is kind of an understatement. Every time I go to the doctor I get the same “you’re underweight” lecture that I’ve heard every year since I was able to form memories. I’ve never really felt insecure about my weight, I love being able to eat everything and not gain a single pound. Since my freshman year of high school I’ve probably only gained 8 pounds and I’m now a sophomore in college. Of course, in school, there were rumors that I was anorexic or bulimic, but everyone who knew me knew that was far from the truth. I’m now 19, 5’2, and I still have yet to break 100 pounds on the scale. It seems that there is a lot of skinny shaming going around and to me, one of the main contributors to that is the Dove Real Beauty campaign.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this because skinny girls get all the praise and other body types are neglected. That’s really not true, though. While loving other body types, you are tearing down skinny girls. Why is it okay to do that to skinny girls but not to other body types? Why is it okay to say “only dogs like bones” or say “every body type is beautiful” until you see a model's abs, or ribs, or thigh gap and then tear them down because they’re “unnaturally” skinny?



The point I’m trying to make is that, as a naturally skinny girl, I have never shamed anyone for their body type, yet I go every day and get at least two comments about my weight. I’m always the skinny girl, the toothpick, but I’m not Jessica. Yeah, I’m a size 00. Get over it. If you have an issue with my body and feel like my body is disgusting to you, don’t look at it. I know that I’m healthy and I don’t need your input when my body just naturally burns calories fast. I don’t have an eating disorder and never have. I am real beauty though, and I know that because I’m comfortable in my own skin. So maybe the real issue is that we as a society have been shoving certain body types down our daughters’ throats so they begin to romanticize models that have certain standards that they have to meet, who work hard for the bodies that they have, and are making a hell of a lot more money than most of the people discussing why they look emaciated while what they’re actually looking at is the photoshopped product.

I’m not going to apologize for being skinny when that is just how my body is, I can’t help it. So please, stop tearing my body down while trying to bring your body up. You can praise your body without shaming skinny girls. Shaming me for being thin does not make you better than the man that shamed your body, just as me shaming you for being curvy does not make me better than the man that shamed my body. As women, we need to love each other because we are the only ones who truly understand each other.


Cover Image Credit: Victoria's Secret Untouched

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Skip The DUI And Get An Uber, Your Future Self Will Thank You

Getting a DUI in college can cost much more than the attorney fees.

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For many, college is a time to study, find what you're passionate about, make new friends, explore, and prepare yourself for the future. While choosing to do all of this, some decide to also work part-time and join various clubs and organizations.

With all this excitement and responsibility on your plate, it can be overwhelming. One of the ways students choose to release the stress is partying. While choosing to drink and have fun with your friends is completely acceptable, some students make the poor decision to drink and drive.

According to the government program, College Drinking Prevention, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes each year. While you may trust yourself or feel totally fine to drive, it's not worth risking your future by getting a DUI or worse, risking your life.

What to Do After a DUI Arrest

After being charged with a DUI, the first thing you should do is retain a qualified DUI attorney in your area. An experienced DUI lawyer can contest charges, push for less punitive options, and ultimately ensure your rights are being protected. Rhode Island DUI lawyer Stefanie Murphy notes the severity of a DUI charge:

"You can lose your driving privileges, which hinders your freedom and your ability to get to work. You'll also have to pay fines and restitution to anyone whose property or person has been damaged. It is therefore in your best interests to fight against being convicted and to keep your driver's license."

How a DUI Can Impact Your College Life

Generally speaking, the police will notify the college of a DUI. As a result, various college privileges you've earned will be stripped away, including:

1. Inability to live in on-campus housing

Many colleges have a Code of Conduct they enforce and impose their own strict penalties for students who find themselves in legal problems. One common penalty is the inability to live on campus.

2. Inability to receive necessary licenses

If you are studying to become a nurse or lawyer, prior DUI charges can affect your admission to a subsequent educational institution. A DUI charge can also inhibit you from receiving your license, or admission, to a particular field. All this being said, it may force you to change your major and career path.

3. Expulsion

Depending on the college and DUI charge, you may be asked to leave the university. Regardless if you are able to shake criminal charges, the college board may still expel you for your behavior.


How a DUI Can Impact Your Life in General

Beyond your college experience, a DUI charge can significantly affect your life both in the present and for years to come. It can affect various important factors, such as:

Your Relationships

Family ties, interpersonal relationships, and your self-esteem can be damaged. Trust and responsibility in your relationships be hindered by your actions and make take time, if possible, to restore. Subsequently, you may find yourself struggling with self-esteem and how you view yourself.

Jail/Fines

Hiring a DUI lawyer can be costly. Then, the cost of bail, restitution, and paying for damages to your own car can add up. If you are convicted and have to serve jail time, you'll be losing out on much more than money; you'll be losing time from your life.

Driving privileges

Depending on the severity of the charge, you may have your license suspended or stripped away for years. Some offenders may receive a hardship license, which enables you to drive to work, medical appointments, school, or the grocery store.

While there is nothing wrong with enjoying drinks with friends in a safe setting, the moment the scene changes to a vehicle, it's a different - and dangerous- story. Don't risk your future and your life by getting behind the wheel after drinking. You have too much to lose.

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