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Sunday, January 24, 2010 Happy0ne, Community Member, asks

Q: I "black out" during times of stress or anxiety.I function but forget periods of time.

Is stress of anxiety the cause of these "black outs"?

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Answers (2)
Jerry Kennard, Health Pro
1/25/10 5:20am



Thanks for your question. I notice you express "black out" in a way that suggests you don't actually lose consciousness - is this accurate? Clearly if you are losing consciousness you need a neurological assessment from your doctor.


Assuming however you are describing a sense or a symptom of high anxiety then this is a bit different. You don't mention whether you are taking medication for anxiety. Memory loss is a side effect of a group of medicines known as benzodiazepines. Suppression of memory during moments of high tension, stress or anxiety is not unknown and it's just possible that you have developed a coping mechanism to help you get through the worst moments. Memory is a strange thing in that we tend to recall things quite well - the problem comes when we attempt to retrive them.


I'm not sure from your question how extensive or frequent a problem this is. If you feel it isn't interfering with your life (and you've ruled out the meds and black-outs previously mentioned) then it may be something to live with. The more things like this start to worry us, the greater the chance they develop into something bigger.


As a psychologist it would be an oversight if I didn't mention psychological therapies. If you haven't considered this it may be worth doing so.

Eileen Bailey, Health Guide
1/25/10 9:51pm

Thank you for your question and welcome to


I am not a medical professional and would not be able to give you medical advice.


It is possible for people to experience blackouts or fainting during times of high stress and anxiety. However, these can also be symptoms of some medical conditions as well.


I would suggest contacting your doctor. He or she would be able to determine if your symptoms are being caused by a medical condition or if you have an anxiety disorder.


If you do have an anxiety disorder, your doctor, or mental health provider, would be able to work with you to set up a treatment plan.



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By Happy0ne, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/18/11, First Published: 01/24/10