Teenagers live in a transitional period between childhood and adulthood. Although they may wish to engage in adult behaviour, drinking alcohol is an activity that has ample negative consequences. Because it is illegal to purchase alcohol as a teenager, kids who do procure it may consume too much of it at once, a pattern known as binge drinking. Binging on alcohol has adverse effects on a teenager's brain development and overall health. Reviewing the negative facts that binge drinking may have can encourage teenagers to refrain from participating.
Damaged Brain and Other Organs
Teenagers do not yet have fully developed brains. During teenage years, the cells in the brain continue to make new connections with each other. These connections strengthen to allow new concepts, skills and information to be processed and learnt by teens. Research by Brainwave Trust concludes that people's brains do not fully mature until they reach their early twenties. Binge drinking during the formative years in brain development can shrink the prefrontal cortex and white brain matter, which impairs teens' ability to make sound judgments. Binge drinking also damages the hippocampus, a part of the brain that controls short-term memory. HealthTree reports that binge drinking can also result in liver damage, stomach problems such as ulcers, and internal bleeding.
Binge drinking is a particular problem among college students. According to statistics collected by the Drug Rehab Treatment website, around half of college students engage in binge drinking at some point; 80% of women living in sorority houses and 86% of men living in fraternity houses binge-drink. This activity adversely affects school performance in addition to carrying the aforementioned health risks. Around 28% of college dropouts are related to by alcohol abuse, as are 40% of all academic problems. Alcohol has been deemed a factor in 66% of student suicides and 60% of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, herpes and syphilis.
According to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, teenagers that have engaged in binge drinking are 2.3 to 3.0 times more likely to continue this behaviour into their thirties than the rest of the population. This unhealthy behaviour over an extended period of time leads to a higher risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motor-vehicle crashes remain the number-one cause of death among teenagers aged 15 to 20. 28% of teenagers in that age range had been drinking before being involved in a car accident. Additionally, 74% of those teenagers who decided to drink and drive did not wear seat belts.
- Journal Watch: Teenage Binge Drinking Might Have Long-Term Effects
- PubMed: Continuity of Binge and Harmful Drinking From Late Adolescence to Early Adulthood
- HealthTree: Binge Drinking and Teen Alcoholism: The Facts
- Drug Treatment Rehab: College Binge Drinking
- Scoop: How Binge Drinking Affects The Teenage Brain
- NPR: Teen Drinking May Cause Irreversible Brain Damage