The Adverse Effects of the Brain for Teen Binge Drinkers

It’s an unfortunate reality that many teenagers participate in binge drinking. And, with no pun intended, the statistics are sobering. More than 20 percent of all American teenagers binge on alcohol each month, and over 90 percent of all of alcohol consumption by both male and female adolescents is in a binge drinking context.

However, there is some interesting new research about how binge drinking impacts teenagers who are not yet addicted to alcohol.

In a study published in the July 2015 journal Addictive Behaviors, researchers found that teenagers do not have the same brain changes that adults have when they partake in binge drinking. Unlike adults who undergo brain changes that make them more sensitive to environmental cues that increase their likelihood of future alcohol consumption, teenagers’ cue sensitivities diminish quickly once they abstain from alcohol for at least a month.

What Are Alcohol Cues?

Alcohol is consumed in a social or environmental context. This association can lead to the development of cues that increase an individual’s chances that alcohol consumption will occur in the presence of certain individuals or within a particular location. Both researchers and addiction specialists have strong evidence showing that alcohol cues are closely linked to alcohol cravings and the development of alcoholism.

What Do These Findings Mean?

The research, conducted by the University of California, San Diego, along with the Veterans Administration and the Medical University of South Carolina, indicates that teenagers have the ability to recover from binge drinking quickly and can greatly reduce their chances of acquiring alcoholism by not partaking in this risky behavior. The findings may also showcase the need for early intervention to prevent the development of alcohol cues that potentially lead to addiction.

In other words, early behavior modification or treatment for binge drinking may enable a teen’s brain to reduce the sensitivity to alcohol cues and their chance of future suffering from alcoholism.

Getting Help For Your Teenager With a Teen Alcohol Rehab Program

Because teenagers are rapidly growing and changing, they need specialized substance abuse treatment. Summit offers a personalized teen alcohol rehab program that specifically addresses these unique physical, mental, emotional, and chemical changes while providing them with healthier coping skills to thrive now and as they enter adulthood.

If you want more information on getting help for your teenager who is binge drinking or struggling with alcohol addiction, contact us now.

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