A new study has found that underage drinking may have lasting effects on the brain and can even lead to an increased risk of alcoholism later on in life.
Although it has been known for many years now that alcohol changes the brain, researchers are only just discovering exactly how and why this happens. With teenagers, their bodies and brains are still developing and therefore aren’t as prepared to handle alcohol the same way that an adult can.
Studies have showed that alcohol can have a negative impact on the areas of the brain that control how we learn and behave which can in turn increase the risk of alcoholism later on. Teenagers who drank alcohol appeared to have a reduction in grey matter in their brain and less new white matter. According to the research, the reductions occurred in the side and front of the brain which are the areas connected to learning, emotional development and self-control.
The study also found that for every year that the start of alcohol use is delayed, the risk that a teenager will become an alcoholic in adulthood is reduced by an incredible 14%. As adolescents don’t yet have the life experience or knowledge to realise how much drinking can have a negative impact on their lives, parents are being urged to educate their children and implement strategies to keep them safer and prevent underage drinking.
Researchers of the study advised:
“It’s important that parents stay active in their children’s lives and set a good example. Knowing who their friends are, where they are spending their time and keeping them involved in activities that promote positive choices and self-esteem are all very important.”
If you are worried that your child could have a problem with alcohol, please feel free to visit our Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation page for information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available. You can also contact us today for help with alcohol abuse.