At times, people may experience a phenomenon of losing time or going completely blank in terms of memory for a short period – this is commonly known as a blackout, and it could range from a few seconds to a few minutes. To the observer, this looks similar to a fainting spell, and there may be a loss of consciousness too. In short, when you experience a blackout, it is a state of losing consciousness for a brief time.

What are the causes of Blackouts?

Blackouts occur when the body does not get the support of adequate blood flow to the brain. It usually happens when someone makes sudden movements, like standing up after being seated for a while. Low blood pressure could also be one of the causes. Blackouts can also occur in patients with epilepsy and may cause sudden death. Moreover, abnormalities in the ECG or a history of heart disease are also indicators of blackouts.

A psychogenic blackout episode is an involuntary reaction of the brain to pressure. A sudden traumatic experience can make a person blackout. 

Another cause of a blackout is excess consumption of alcohol, leading to high blood pressure and making the person unconscious.

If you suffer from arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), heart diseases, problems in blood vessels in the brain, mental illness, low blood sugar, or even consumption of illicit drugs, then you could be prone to blackouts. 

What are the diagnosis and treatment options for Blackouts?

If you are experiencing blackouts, seek medical help. Usually, your doctor will perform a diagnosis alongside a preliminary physical examination, including counting irregular heartbeats and checking your blood pressure.

One of the assessment tests a doctor performs is the tilt test, which helps assess unexplained unconsciousness. You are asked to lie on a table, after which the body position is adjusted to vertical from horizontal. This helps stimulate the stand-up position, enabling the doctor to determine if disorientation or change in position is causing low blood pressure and blackouts. Such a change in position may not be processed appropriately in cases of an issue with the cognitive abilities of the cerebellum or the inner ear.

When should you consult a doctor if you have a blackout?

It is advisable to consult a doctor when you or your loved ones are experiencing blackouts. If the unconscious state extends for more than a few minutes and the occurrence is frequent, there may be the possibility of an underlying heart illness. Blackouts could also indicate a family history of epilepsy or other chronic diseases. Consulting the doctor, therefore, takes priority. 

Book a free medical consultation with our specialist doctors at Yashoda Group of Hospitals and get an accurate diagnosis for blackouts. To book an appointment, contact


Blackouts can be a serious health condition and, in some cases, life-threatening. The treatment for blackouts should not be done at home without consulting a doctor or a qualified medical professional. A skilled medical expert will be able to diagnose the possible cause of your blackouts. The good news is that most underlying disease conditions can be treated with appropriate medical care.

Get in touch with a specialist doctor at the Yashoda Group of Hospitals and get the highest standards of medical care and treatment for your blackouts.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Blackouts

During a blackout, the area of the brain known as the hippocampus freezes. The mind stops functioning for that very moment. The absence of functioning will stop sending neurotransmitters to the brain resulting in memory loss.

There is no specific period of a blackout - it could lasts from a few minutes to a few hours or even days.

Patients having atrial fibrillation (AF), supraventricular tachycardia, bradycardia, heart block, or ventricular fibrillation type of arrhythmia can have blackouts as the rhythm of the heartbeat is compromised.

Syncope means momentary loss of consciousness due to a sudden drop in blood pressure. It is a term used by a cardiologist and requires medical professionals' help. Blackouts, on the other hand, are a temporary state of loss of consciousness. However, “blackout” is a broader term that also includes syncope.

Fainting is a non-medical term used for syncope. While experiencing a blackout is a state of losing memory for some time, fainting is a state of remaining unconscious for a brief amount of time.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.