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 Structure
New 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 Alcoholism
People 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 Disorders
Drinking alcohol on a regular basis has been linked to a number of disorders and mental health issues, including:
- Low self esteem
- Anxiety disorders
- Antisocial behavior
- Increased chances of dependency on other drugs
Frequent use of alcohol will bring out, or enable, any existing disorders. In order to effectively deal with any issues with alcohol that might be present, you’ll also need to treat any existing symptoms.
4. Can Develop Several Long Term Health Conditions
Chronic 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
Chronic alcohol use as a teen, especially, if the use is continued as an adult, will only increase your chances of developing any of the above disorders. Alcohol wreaks havoc on your health as an adult, and the problems you experience as you age will only become amplified by teenage drinking.
5. Short Term Impairment Can Have Long-Term Consequences
Even a one time drinking episode as a teen can have a negative influence on the rest of your life. Since drinking greatly impairs your ability to make good decisions, you could end up becoming seriously injured, or arrested. Both of these events will negatively inhibit your future.
When you’re young drinking can seem like all fun and games, until you run into a serious problem, like being arrested for drinking and driving, or sustaining a life-threatening injury while under the influence.
If you’re the parent of a teen you suspect might be drinking, it’s crucial you intervene and inform them about the dangers of drinking, or get them the help and support they require. Contact Next Generation Village today to here more about our teen addiction treatment programs.
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Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.