Alcohol is socially accepted in the United States causing billions of drinks to be consumed each year. According the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 7.3 million Americans between the ages of 12 to 20 are reported to drink alcohol. 11 percent of all alcohol that is consumed is from this age group. Teenagers do not drink as much as adults, but when they do get into the bottle, they drink more at one sitting than most adults do. Since underage drinkers have to hide alcohol from their parents and authorities, 90 percent of teenage alcohol consumption consists of binge drinking which can create problems with their memory for the long-term. The Journal of Neuroscience provided a paper from Columbia University that states, “Alcohol consumption during adolescence in a mouse model of binge drinking alters the intrinsic excitability and function of the prefrontal cortex through a reduction in the hyperpolarization – activated cation current.” In layman’s terms this means that the ever-developing teenage brain can be affected by the physical effects alcohol can have on the brain. Binge drinking changes the way that neurons are able to transmit signals amongst cells. Alcohol especially in a binge capacity can dampen neuronal excitability while impeding the neuron’s chance to continue to mature. The prefrontal cortex of the brain which hosts these neurons is responsible for short-term memories and the regulation of how sufficiently the brain is able to pay attention. With binge drinking part of the equation, the brain is likely to suffer damage within the less active neurons. There are some severe problems that could occur in the brain without being fully developed until a teen is well into their twenties. Not to mention that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that those teens who drank before the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to become addicted to the substances they are abusing especially because they are binging at least five drinks in a short time span. Although you could believe that these statistics would never happen to your teen, having an open mind that this could indeed happen to your teen or any one of their friends is logical. Your best bet is gaining the awareness you need to do something before their binge drinking starts happening. You could save their life.
If you or an adolescent you know needs to get help for drug or alcohol abuse, Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center can give you the guidance that you deserve. Establishing a strong network of family and community can reinforce practices for living substance free.
Call us today to start living in your recovery: 662-598-4214