Teenage Alcoholism: Why Teens Aren’t As Sensitive to Alcohol
Posted Dec 04 2010 12:49pm
Teenage alcoholism is a growing concern. Teenage binge drinking where teens consume a large amount of alcohol in a short period is the way most teens and young adults drink. Why are their drinking habits so different than adults?
A recent study led by Dr. Doug Matthews, a neuropsychologist at Baylor University, has shown that adolescents are less sensitive to the effects of alcohol compared to adults. This study has recently been published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Here is the summary of this study:
The firing rate of certain nerve cells (called the cerebellar Purkinje cells) were exposed to large amounts of alcohol in adolescent animal models.
The firing rate of the adolescent cells (cerebellar Purkinje cells) only decreased by 5% compared to a 20% decrease in adult animal cells. This is a huge difference! This difference could be seen in motor impairment (coordination)- adult’s coordination was affected much more. In other words, teens are less sensitive to losing their coordination when drinking compared to adults which may drive them to drink more alcohol to get the effects they want.
Some of the greatest dangers with teenage alcoholism is teenage binge drinking. Teenage binge drinking leads to underage drinking and driving, alcohol poisoning, and unwanted pregnancies among other risks. The peak age for binge drinking is 21-25 years old.
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