Legacy Healing Center Blog
Consuming alcohol at a young age can have drastic consequences for brain development.
While the focus of alcohol health risks is usually on addiction and alcoholism, there are many ways that alcohol health risks also affect adolescents. The effects of alcohol on youth development can be dangerous because the brain and it’s important that this information is shared.
The brain continues to develop until the age of 25 and the amount of alcohol consumed prior to the age of 25 can leave lasting effects on the mind and body. Brain development and alcohol are no joke; continue reading to learn more about the effects of alcohol on youth development and it’s risks.
Effects of Alcohol on Youth Development
College-age from 18 to 24, roughly, is the age when people leave their homes and begin to experience drinking. This is usually the period of time when binge drinking and other drinking habits begin.
Many times these habits in adolescence can carry into adulthood leading to higher rates of alcohol use disorder. The effects of alcohol on youth development can be seen in two areas of the brain, that tend to be thinner with less volume compared to adolescents who do not consume alcohol.
Brain development and alcohol is something to take seriously. When adolescents have less white matter development in their early twenties, later in life they have a higher risk of having memory problems as well as difficulty controlling impulses and making healthy decisions.
These constant changes that occur while the brain is still developing can also lead to behavioral difficulties as well as controlling cravings and impulses and ultimately maintaining relationships and work.
This is why alcohol health risks should be understood by youth and adults because something that may seem like a right of passage could actually be putting our youth at risk for problems later in life.
Brain Development and Alcohol: Risks
Besides the effects of alcohol on youth development having negative outcomes, there are many other alcohol health risks and general risks that need to be addressed. Youth that consume alcohol are more likely to experience any of the following:
• Risk of Injury or Death: Youth who consume alcohol before the legal age is seriously putting themselves at risk of either getting hurt or death. Drinking and driving is an especially serious subject with adolescents because of how high the risk is of being involved in a crash with alcohol in the system.
Adolescents are more willing to get in the car with someone who is under the influence or get behind the wheel themselves, not fully realizing how impacted they are or the danger they are putting themselves in.
• Making Bad Decisions: Alcohol lowers inhibitions which means that adolescents who are unsure of what their limits are may find themselves in situations that can include risky sexual behavior, danger or even assault.
• School: When high school students, or even college students, consume alcohol, they are more likely to miss a class or have lower grades because of the effects of alcohol. This could mean that they are too hungover to make it to class or do their assignments, or maybe possibly skipping out on education to consume alcohol.
• Legal Problems: anyone caught drinking by the law under the legal drinking age will be subject to legal consequences and possibly any adults over the legal drinking age that are present.
• Alcohol Use Disorder: When youth begin to consume alcohol at a young age they are more likely to develop an addiction or even develop a dependence.
Speaking to youth about the risks of drinking heavily before the age of 25 can help them understand the risks. If you believe that someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction at a young age, speak to a family member or friend about finding them help. The sooner help is found, the better for the individual.
Reach out to the addiction specialists at Legacy Healing Center to learn more about detox and treatment options. Speak to someone today at 888-597-3547.