Have you ever found that you can’t remember the situation of what happened during the period of time when you were drinking, maybe an affair (don't remember going to bed) or a discussion? If this loss of memory while drinking has happened more than just a few times when you first began your drinking career, and has become a pattern of behavior, then it may be a significant indicator that you have a problem with alcohol. There are two types of alcohol induced memory loss. One is called a fragmentary memory loss; this type has often referred to as a "brownout" or "grey out", and usually looks like this: I drank to the point of being drunk (beyond buzzed), and did not remember a particular event that happened while I was drinking until someone mentioned it to me the next day; then, after I was given a cue about the event, I remembered it. This type of memory loss is more common than the second form of memory loss that I will describe here. The grey out or fragmentary memory loss should not be dismissed as unimportant if it happens regularly enough to be considered a pattern of behavior resulting from excessive drinking. Getting drunk as a pattern of behavior will result in negative consequences and can be an important indicator of a problem.
The other type of alcohol induced memory loss is called a blackout or more technically, an en bloc memory loss. With this type of memory loss, the individual cannot recall the information (which can be about events during a short period of time, or for hours, or can be intermittent, i.e., the person goes in and out of a blackout), no matter how often he/she is reminded of it. The information is not available. This type of blackout can occur in novice or new drinkers who may at the beginning of their drinking drink too much too fast out of inexperience or due to the pressures of the moment and, typically, blackout, vomit, and pass out. The new drinker will usually figure out how to pace drinks and avoid the vomit-blackout experience. These novice blackouts are not usually of diagnostic significance.
Thus, the reaction of the individual to a pattern of blackouts may be more important than how often they occur. Blackouts should be a cause of great concern and result in efforts to prevent them. The lack of concern, or, the inability to drink without blackouts, would signify a serious problem and, probably, alcoholism. Habitual pattern of behavior with blackouts that occurs even once in a month are serious indications of alcoholism or other sedative drug.