Many teens experiment with alcohol in their high school and early college years. However, when teens experiment, often they engage in more risky drinking behaviors, most notably binge drinking– drinking 5 or more drinks in a short period of time.
A recent study found that binge drinking could be affecting the teenage brain in ways we didn’t realize before. The teen brain is still developing into the early twenties. Because of this, the brain is more at risk to harmful effects. The study found that in comparing those who engaged in binge drinking with those who did not, those who drank did worse on memory and thinking tests. Most notably, the girls performed more poorly on spacial functioning, while the boys did more poorly on test involving attention or focus.
“The magnitude of the difference [in tests] is 10 percent. I like to think of it as the difference between an A and a B”, said Susan Tapert, the neuroscientist who conducted the research.
What is possibly more enlightening is that these differences were not only seen on written performance tests, there were actually differences in the brain images of the two groups.
Click here for more information on this study.
This study obviously sheds more light on the dangers of binge drinking. However, we all know that teens are more prone to engaging in these risky behaviors as they go through this period of life.
Do you think this is something that can be prevented, or something that we should accept as a natural course of a teen’s life?