Teenage Alcoholism: 4 Ways Alcohol Hurts Teen Brain Power
Posted Mar 03 2011 12:51pm
Research over the last 15 years on the developing teen brain strongly supports DELAYING the first drink until the 20′s to avoid teenage alcoholism. Brain development occurs until about age 23-25 years old. Teens that start drinking before 15 years of age have 4-5 times the risk of becoming an alcoholic later. There are compelling arguments to avoid teenage alcoholism at all costs.
Here are 4 ways alcohol has been shown to hurt a teen’s brain:
1. Alcohol hurts memory and attention. Teenage binge drinking leads to much poorer results on thinking and memory tests compared to teens that don’t drink. Animal studies support this finding as well (comparing adults rats to young rats exposed to alcohol).
2. Alcohol stops new brain cells from forming. This makes your teen more susceptible to depression.
3. Teenage binge drinking is more dangerous to the brain than drinking smaller amounts. The theory behind this is that binge drinking may cause mini-seizures in teen brains.
4. There is a loss of grey matter volume in the brain (smaller brains).
Educate your teen about the effects of alcohol on the brain. Discuss it in a matter -of- fact way- not in a judgmental tone. Monitor your teen. Learn to communicate in a positive way. If you can delay that first drink, your teen is much less likely to have serious alcohol problem later.
If your teen is already suffering from teenage alcoholism, get your teen help. Also, there are positive parenting strategies you can learn that will help your teen maintain sobriety.