Blackouts: Causes, Side Effects, and Prevention

Experts believe that when people are experiencing a threatening feeling, thought, or memory, it can overwhelm them so much that it induces a seizure. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimate that 70% of people with epilepsy can control their symptoms by taking medication or undergoing surgery. Fragmentary blackouts tend to affect only patches of memory, so a person may be able to piece together a memory on prompting.

what causes blackouts and memory loss

Lasting brain function impairment can also affect biochemical imbalances where additional co-morbid mental health conditions like anxiety and depression arise. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and causes significant memory loss, in addition to multiple other symptoms. If you think your memory loss could be caused by Alzheimer's, review the symptoms and make an appointment with your physician for an assessment. Although Alzheimer's typically affects those over the age of 65, early-onset Alzheimer's can occur in those as young as 40. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause cognitive problems such as memory loss and mental fog.

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But it’s still important to see your doctor to try and work out what is causing the blackouts. If you experience severe memory or concentration problems that make it difficult to do your job, tell your doctor. You may be referred to an occupational therapist or a neuropsychologist, who can help you adjust to your current job or identify your strengths so that you may find a new job. Though chemo brain is a widely used term, the causes of concentration and memory problems aren't well-understood.

If you have a health concern causing memory loss, your provider can offer treatment suggestions and other ways to help you. The latter study found that women experienced the side effects after drinking only half as much as men. That is why people experience a range of memory loss symptoms when they binge-drink. Alcohol can cause minor memory loss, such as being unable to remember details of a conversation after a few drinks, or major memory loss, such as forgetting hours of time after taking shots. Dementia is a brain disorder that can affect memory and other mental functions.

Intermittent explosive disorder

You're at greatest risk of having a dissociative disorder if you've had long-term physical, sexual or emotional abuse during childhood. Each identity may have a unique name, personal history and features. These identities sometimes include differences in voice, gender, mannerisms and even such physical qualities as the need for eyeglasses. There also are differences in how familiar each identity is with the others. Dissociative identity disorder usually also includes bouts of amnesia and often includes times of confused wandering.

what causes blackouts and memory loss

Children who are physically, emotionally or sexually abused are at increased risk of developing mental health conditions, such as dissociative disorders. If stress or other personal issues are affecting the way you treat your child, seek help. Blackouts can occur in many different conditions including epilepsy, drug or alcohol intoxication, post traumatic stress disorder, and medication reactions or side effects. Fits of rage are often seen with post traumatic stress disorder or emotional conditions.


Akeem Marsh, MD, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to working with medically underserved communities. Depression can blunt the mind and cause such disinterest in your surroundings that memory, concentration, and awareness suffer. Your mind and emotions may be so weighed down that you are just not able to pay much attention can ptsd cause blackouts to what's happening. • You can also use the category-specific search box to search for all symptoms in that category. • There is also a separate section for skin symptoms only. If you become intensely anxious or panicked and breathe too quickly, you may feel faint from hyperventilation (taking in too much oxygen and getting rid of too much carbon dioxide too quickly).

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