The Long Term Effects of Alcohol On Teenagers
Alcohol is one of the most commonly used and abused drugs by teenagers across the United States. Drinking can have short-term effects on the teen’s life. But, also causes a lot of long-term consequences as well. Drinking as a teen can actually be more damaging, as the teen brain is in a crucial stage of development. Heavy or regular drinking during this time can end up causing lifelong brain damage, impairment to brain function, and it can put you at risk for developing a host of health problems.
Starting to drink as a teen also puts you at risk of developing alcoholism as an adult. A lot of adults assume that alcohol affects teens in the same manner it does adults, however, this simply isn’t true. Below we dive into the long-term effects of alcohol on teenagers.
1. Has A Negative Influence On Adult Brain StructureNew research suggests that heavy drinking as a teen influences the development of your brain structure as an adult. When you’re younger the brain is primarily focused on growth and generating new cells. Once you’re an adolescent this shifts towards creating new neural pathways. These new neural pathways help to relate information to different parts of the brain. Research suggests that drinking through the teen years will reduce the ability to complete memory oriented tasks, and can even impair the development of the frontal regions of the brain.
2. Increases Your Risk Of Adult AlcoholismPeople who start drinking as teens greatly increase their chances of developing alcoholism as an adult. Drinking when you are young increases your chances of developing with a lifelong problem. In fact, teens who drink before the age of 15 are 40% more likely to develop alcohol dependency as an adult. The earlier a person begins drinking the more likely they are to develop alcohol-related problems as an adult. If you’re a parent of a teen who you suspect is drinking, it’s important to talk to them, or get them the required help as soon as possible.
3. Frequent Alcohol Use Can Bring About Co-Occurring DisordersDrinking alcohol on a regular basis has been linked to a number of disorders, including:
- low self esteem
- anxiety disorders
- antisocial behavior
- increased chances of dependency on other drugs
4. Can Develop Several Long Term Health ConditionsChronic health issues may not be seen immediately, as they take much longer to show up. However, heavy drinking as a teen will put at you an increased risk towards developing serious health problems as an adult. Some of the health problems are as follows:
- liver cirrhosis
- heart problems