Binge Drinking Affects the Brain Development of Teenagers

Binge drinking harmful to teenagers

A large quantity of booze affects teenagers and their performance in schools, sports, and other activities. Moreover, girls are more affected than boys due to an excess amount of boozing are. A new study found that the development of the spatial working memory is affected when teenagers are habituated to drinking high amount of booze. The spatial working memory is a person’s capability to perceive the events that are occurring in the surroundings.

Impairments related to drinking

The research found that several activities that are associated with spatial memory are affected in teenagers who consume large amount of alcohol. These include driving, reasoning of figures, such as geometry, sports, remembering and enacting complex moves, map reading, and remembering the routes or directions of getting from one direction to another.

The study

The study included ninety-five teenagers. These teenagers were subjected to neurological testing, substance use interviewing, and spatial working memory task. The teenagers were asked to undertake these activities during a brain scan that used MRI. The results showed that the activation of the brains of those teenage girls who drank huge amount of booze was lower in comparison to the girls who were not heavy drinkers. Similar results were seen between the brain activation of teenage boys who drank and those who did not drink. However, the difference between the boys was lower than the difference found between the girls.

Hormonal difference may be the cause

The authors of the study reasoned that the possible reason for the difference between boys and girls might be related to the hormonal or metabolic differences between the genders. It is known that the brain development in girls occurs two years before the development of the boys, and this could be the possible reason why girls who drank were more affected than boys who were heavy drinkers.

Drinking affects brain cell development

It is common to be mistake that brain development in teenagers is completed. However, the fact is that although teenagers may seem physically grown-up, the frontal brain areas are undergoing continued development, which is associated with high-level activities, such as planning and organization. Heavy drinking among teenagers can interfere with the brain cell development during the adolescence years, especially in the frontal brain regions. Moreover, the harmful effects could be long lasting, even after the teenagers may reduce or give up alcohol consumption.