Adolescent alcohol use and brain development

Alcohol impacts the developing adolescent brainAlcohol is especially damaging to adolescent brains which are still developing. It is classified as a depressant and teens who use alcohol when they are depressed are at greater risk for suicide. It also contributes to numerous injuries, motor vehicle crashes, and sexual assaults. The alcohol you buy or provide to an underage drinker so they can “have fun” could end up contributing to someone being injured or killed.

There are many ways that psychoactive substances can alter or damage the development of the adolescent brain.

  1. Psychoactive substances, like alcohol, often target and alter function of the chemical messengers that allow nerves to communicate therefore can directly damage fragile developing neural connections.
  2. Using alcohol or other drugs alters perception and may interfere with developing perceptual skills in the primitive areas of the brain more associated with emotions, self-preservation, and perception of the outside world.
  3. And finally, the habits and choices associated with the use of drugs and alcohol slowly become ingrained in the wiring of the brain. Repeated action becomes habit and the habits of thought, perception, and reasoning developed in childhood and adolescence can stay with a person throughout his or her lifetime.

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April is Alcohol Awareness Month. To learn more about keeping our young people safe and healthy, check out our website or Click HERE to visit our Underage Drinking page.

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