Psychiatrist Questions Alcoholism

Can repeated blackouts indicate an alcohol problem?

My friends and I go out drinking a lot, and I'm worried that one of my friends is an alcoholic. She has repeatedly drank to the point of blacking out, and it happens so often. Can repeated blackouts indicate an alcohol problem?

12 Answers

Of course!! This person needs medical and psychological help!
Hello and thank you for your question. Repeated blackouts absolutely constitutes alcoholism. They may think because they don't drink every day that they are not alcoholics, that is not true. Alcoholism is defined by tolerance, amount and frequency. Her blackouts are a sure indication that she has a problem with alcohol. Hopefully she will eventually come to an understanding that how she drinks and the amount she drinks is effecting her. Blackouts are one way the body protects itself by shutting down before poisoning occurs. Blackouts happen when the person cannot exercise control and doesn't know when to stop.
Blackouts usually are an indication of problematic use of alcohol or alcohol use disorder.
If she drinks a lot, especially to the point of blacking out, she surely has an alcohol problem. See if you can get her to seek treatment for it.
Yes, she needs to seek treatment, meetings AA or intensive outpatient program
Blackouts (anterograde memory loss) is a significant indication that alcohol use is a serious problem.
Yes, it could be a sign. Your friend may be trying to escape something in her reality and is trying to numb herself and 'forget' her troubles. Try asking her if there is something that is causing hurt and pain in her life.

It could also just be that she feels pressured to drink heavily with your group of friends, I am not sure of the context of your friend group.
Absolutely. AA would be a good way to get feedback about her drinking.
The problem with the term "blackout" relating to alcohol is can mean different things. One is drinking until you lose consciousness. Another is "I don't remember anything after 7:00." Or you mostly sort of remember, but can't find your keys. Any of these more than very rarely is a sign of a serious drinking problem. Since you're all going out drinking together, it's likely that more than one of you has a problem. A quick definition of problem drinking is pretty simple: recurring problems due to drinking. What kind of problems? Your family is upset about your use. You have trouble getting to work on time on Mondays. You have someone call your boss to say you're sick when you're really just hungover. A single driving under the influence arrest is strong evidence of alcoholism. Health effects like cirrhosis or alcoholic dementia are typically the last to arise.
Yes, of course it's possible, but a comprehensive assessment by a knowledgeable clinician should be conducted in order to establish acurate diagnosis, and appropriate treatment if needed. Thank you for your question!