We Asked, You Answered: Do Men Or Women Have A Higher Risk Of Experiencing A Blackout Caused By Alcohol?
Did you watch the ball drop with a glass of champagne? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. New Year’s Eve is the most popular drinking holiday of the year. But, festivities filled with friends and family may occasionally lead to overconsumption. For some, a few too many drinks can even cause alcohol-induced amnesia, better known as a blackout. In our December poll, we asked readers about another factor that affects the likelihood of blacking out from drinking: whether the person consuming alcohol is male or female.
More than 70 percent of people answered our questions correctly; women are at a higher risk of blacking out due to alcohol consumption. We explored a few reasons why this might be the case in our previous blog post, The Science behind Blacking Out. The reasons include:
- Women have considerably less water in their bodies as compared to men, so alcohol is less diluted in the bloodstream.
- Women have a significantly lower concentration of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) – the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol before it passes into the bloodstream. Therefore, women have a higher blood alcohol content and experience greater intoxication than men per amount of consumed alcohol.
- Women generally have more body fat than men. Given that fat does not directly absorb alcohol, they maintain higher concentrations of alcohol in their bloodstream relative to men.
Whether it leads to a blackout or not, excessive alcohol consumption is dangerous for both men and women. Additionally, experiencing regular alcohol blackouts may be a sign of an alcohol use disorder (alcoholism).
No matter what you’re celebrating throughout 2018, if you’re an adult and choose to consume alcohol, we encourage you to drink responsibly. Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year from all of us at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
Hannah Freedman is a communications and digital associate at the Center on Addiction