Could Excessive Drinking Be The Reason For Kavanaugh’s Amnesia?

Could acute excessive alcohol intake account for Kavanaugh and his friends’ gaps in memory?

New allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Kavanaugh has emerged. The Republicans don’t seem to care if the allegations are true or not. They want Judge Kavanaugh to be the next lifetime member of the Supreme Court. Why him? Aren’t their other more qualified nominees?

This post is not to discuss the politics or propaganda behind bashing victims of sexual assault which by the way is very common. About 5 -10years ago, a survey of high school students showed that by age 17 about 75% of girls had been sexually molested. This post is not about rape either. There is a disturbing part of the allegations against Kavanaugh that has not received the attention it deserves.

What about the stories of Judge Kavanaugh’s excessive drinking to the point of incoherence? His circle of friends at both Georgetown Prep School and Yale enjoyed alcohol and drank excessively very frequently. Is it possible Judge Kavanaugh and his drinking friends suffered alcohol-induced blackouts like 40% of college students?

What is alcohol-induced blackout?

Alcoholism is a global health problem that affects 4% of the worldwide population similar to cigarette smoking. Alcohol-induced blackouts can occur in anyone who consumes large amounts of alcohol over a short period especially if there are other risk factors such as a genetic predisposition. One does not have to be an alcoholic or a chronic drinker to have a blackout from alcohol.

The term blackout is confusing as most people think it means passing out, but it does not. Alcohol-induced blackout is amnesia to an event associated with excessive drinking without loss of consciousness. Blackouts are quite common with one study reporting 35% of residents at pediatric residency program reported at least one blackout. Blackouts are common on college campuses with at least 40% of college students surveyed admitted to a blackout the year before the survey.

There are two types of alcohol-induced blackouts: fragmentary and en bloc. Fragmentary blackouts are more common than en bloc or total blackout. With fragmentary blackouts as the name implies there is not total amnesia to the event but fragments of memory– bits, and pieces of memory– still exist and with help recollection is possible. With en bloc blackouts the memory is completely gone and no recollection possible.

The pathophysiology of blackouts is believed to involve the hippocampus which regulates memory and plays a vital role in emotions. Alcohol suppresses brain cells within the hippocampus, preventing the creation of long-term memories. The suppression of long-term memory results in the amnesia seen in blackouts.

Other areas of the brain though impaired still function during a blackout. A severely intoxicated person experiencing a blackout could be conscious, carry a conversation, interact with the environment and when sober not have any recollection if the blackout was en bloc.

Also, people who blackout are at high risk for dangerous and violent behaviors, including rape and murder.

Could Judge Kavanaugh have sexually assaulted women at Georgetown Prep and Yale and not remember? Most definitely, given his history of excessive drinking to the point of incoherence. Perhaps the investigation start there?



Reference and related stories:

1.  Alcohol-Induced Blackout

2. Dr Ford ‘s Story Could Be The Truth And So Could Kavanaugh’s Story, How?

3.  Yale Law School’s Reckoning Over Brett Kavanaugh

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On Thursday, The Guardian reported that two prominent law-school faculty members, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, had advised female students interviewing for clerkships with Kavanaugh to dress attractively. (Chua denied those allegations in a letter to the law-school community.) Then, over the weekend, a majority of law-school faculty members—including two former deans, Robert Post and Harold Koh—signed an open letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee calling for a full investigation into the accusations against Kavanaugh.

By that point, a group of about 50 law-school students had already begun organizing the sit-in. What began as a discussion about politics in Washington became a reckoning with a culture in New Haven that has divided students and faculty members. “Some people are scared, some people are angry,” said Nick Kilstein, a first-year law student.


Source of images:  The Atlantic




Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

5 thoughts on “Could Excessive Drinking Be The Reason For Kavanaugh’s Amnesia?

  1. Dear Angela,
    surely excessive drinking works on both ends, it pushes misbehaving as well as amnesia about that! I´ve never drunk that much but totally abandoned alcohol more than 20 years ago.
    Cordial regards

    1. Not sure why that isn’t being explored more? We may find answers there. My late husband would have blackouts where he was conscious and incoherently talking while smashing things. The next day he would deny smashing the lamp or something else. I had to video record him, and even then he denied it. At that time we thought he was sleepwalking, but he only had these episodes after consuming large amounts of alcohol.

    2. In those days I believe the legal drinking age was still 18 years old. There was a lot of drinking on campus. I remember the Thirsty Bear at Cornell was a must on Friday’s.

      In any event, it’s clear Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker in prep school and at Yale. I don’t believe he blacked out but put that forth as a possible explanation for his total lack of recollection. Other people recalled the parties and him. The parties were planned with gang rapes in mind making blackout less likely and him lying highly likely.

      Kavanaugh is a scoundrel and a liar. He like Trump is ethically and morally unfit for office.

  2. It is a plausible explanation. Politically, is it material, if he no longer drinks to the point of en bloc?

    1. It is plausible but not likely. Kavanaugh appears to be lying, making an investigation mandatory before any confirmation.

      Men don’t conduct organized gang rapes during blackouts.

      In Kavanaugh I see an a pattern of a sexual predator yet Trump and the Republicans want him on the Supreme Court.

      His excessive drinking to the point of violence should disqualify him, don’t you think?

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