Not all college kids go wild on the weekends. After all, frat parties are sweat-fests, Netflix exists, and those first few shots taste like a mixture of razor blades and gasoline. But, if we focus on the nights that we do decide to get dolled up and go out, we will find that we will wake up the next morning with an inability to recall anything past the pregame.
The blackout is a mysterious commodity that has you running around without shoes or a cell phone, asking anyone that will listen what the f*ck you did last night. Sometimes, that can be scary as hell. Piecing together missing moments Hangover style may have you on a CSI-high, but if you want to stay away from another night of puzzles, your first step is beginning to understand why a blackout occurs.
As a whole, you’re one big bundle of fabulous, but broken down, you are your synapses. Synapses are the spaces between nerve cells, and what they transport from one cell to another gives the cell the instructions for what comes next. Alcohol is an inhibitory chemical; it binds to the main inhibitory receptors and nerve synapses and then reduces the cell’s potential to be activated. This is why you become a crazy klutz when you have thrown back a few shots. The muscles cannot be as easily excited into movement.
It is important to remember that everything is slowing down, not just your ability to slap a b*tch or walk ten feet. Your memory is too. The alcohol is interfering with your ability to make long term memories and store your short term shenanigans. Imagine those little alcohol molecules like America’s badass women’s soccer team, kicking away those potential memories with a flawless finish.
Now, you may be grateful in the morning if you’ve forgotten a faceplant or a flirtation fail, but alcohol-induced blackouts also have the power to wipe your brain clean from everything like intense conversations to full on sexual intercourse.
Let’s say you haven’t partied that hard. You still had a blast like the rest of your friends, but you weaned off the serious stuff pretty early in the night. Why are you still having a hard time remembering everything that had happened? While receptors typically respond to relatively large types of alcohol, there are subunits of the receptor that have different thresholds for reaction. It turns out that some of those suckers respond to pretty low levels of alcohol; and by low levels, I’m talking one glass of wine.
If you want to avoid a few memory mishaps, make sure that you’ve had a good, long sleep the night before you party hard, and don’t forget dinner. Also, slow your roll on the drinking games and pace yourself throughout the night. But if you have skipped out on sleep lately, didn’t gorge for dinner, or going hard at beer pong, make sure that you have a good group of friends around you to keep you safe and keep themselves informed – after all, you may need a recap in the morning.
Remember, everything and anything related to the brain is unbelievably complicated, so this explanation is only one piece of a much larger and mysterious answer…but if you now know more about the blackout itself than you do about last night, you’re off to a good start.
Featured Image via Tumblr.