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Effects of Underage Drinking on the Brain

effects of underage drinking

It can be heartbreaking and frustrating to see someone struggling with alcoholism, especially if it’s someone you care about dearly. Men, in particular, are prone to substance use disorders, being almost twice as likely as women to experience addiction and dependence. If your son is battling alcohol addiction, then you already know the fear, doubt, and stress that the condition can place on a family. Alcoholism has an effect not only on the person going through it but also on everyone who loves and cares about them. Underage drinking also has long-term effects on both physical and mental health, since a teenager’s body will continue developing well into their teens.

An alcohol addiction treatment program is the first step toward long-lasting recovery. With the right help, your loved one can make it through the detox required to get sober and stay sober. That’s why Recovery Bay Center offers alcohol addiction treatment programs as well as other holistic treatments to encourage whole-body healing. We understand that addiction is not a personal failing. In fact, it is a treatable disease. We offer gender-specific treatment programs that cater to men ages 18 and above. If you’d like to learn more, pick up the phone and call us at 833.991.2955.

Alcohol and the Brain

There are a number of short-term effects of alcohol consumption, mainly centered around the central nervous system. Alcohol causes an almost immediate change in brain chemistry, causing the symptoms of alcohol intoxication once enough has been consumed. While alcohol intoxication can happen after just one or two drinks, continued drinking can result in alcohol overdose, which is a dangerous condition with serious health effects.

Alcohol is a depressant, which means it suppresses the nervous system and causes a slowdown of the messages that are sent between the brain and other major organs and muscles. A person’s perceptions, movement, and thinking are all affected. In fact, even mild intoxication can cause impairment of both cognitive and physical ability. Drinking too quickly or too much can cause even more adverse effects, such as:

  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Impaired decision-making ability, leading to dangerous situations
  • Severe mood swings or heightened emotions
  • Lapses in short-term memory
  • Slurred speech

Effects of Underage Drinking

While alcohol has negative effects on people of all ages, the risks are even more pronounced for underage drinkers. The brains of teenagers and adolescents are going through large changes. These changes are influenced by almost every situation or experience a person goes through. The brain is trying to mature and refine itself during the adolescent and teenage stages. Unfortunately, an alcohol use disorder can hinder that goal. Some of the long-term effects of underage drinking may include:

Decreased memory and learning ability

Consumption of alcohol can impair or permanently damage the parts of the brain that govern memory and learning ability.

Compromised judgment and decision-making

The part of the brain that handles decision-making grows a massive amount during adolescence, and excessive alcohol consumption can hinder this growth.

Poor academic performance

Teenagers and adolescents who drink tend to attain a lower level of education compared to their peers who did not drink, with higher consumption being linked to worse academic performance.

Mental health issues

Those struggling with an alcohol use disorder are more at risk of developing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

Get Treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder at Recovery Bay Center

If your son needs help with an alcohol use disorder, help is always available at Recovery Bay Center. We have alcohol addiction treatment programs specifically designed for the needs of men ages 18 and above. There is no shame in asking for help with a drinking problem or addiction. Treatment can put a person’s life back on track, which is especially important for underage drinkers. Contact Recovery Bay Center at 833.991.2955 to begin the journey toward healing and recovery.