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Teen Binge Drinking Can Do Long-Term Brain Damage

Essay by   •  February 26, 2011  •  Essay  •  406 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,413 Views

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Teen Binge Drinking Can Do Long-Term Brain Damage

First of all, what is binge drinking? Binge drinking refers to the act of drinking heavily over a short period of time or drinking continuously over a number of days or weeks.

If someone drinks heavily over a long period of time, they can become physically and psychologically dependent upon alcohol. Their body gets used to functioning with alcohol present and drinking can become more important than other activities in their life. Over time, alcohol can damage parts of the body, including the brain and liver. There are also the risks of developing emotional problems, such as depression, and problems at school, work and with relationships.

Other effects of binge drinking include unwanted pregnancy, feeling bad about yourself afterwards, feeling vulnerable and out of control while intoxicated, losing friends or loved ones as a result of your behaviour, loss of valuable items such as a car after a crash, or financial losses from buying so much alcohol or having to have time off work to recover from a binge.

Recent studies show that teens who abuse alcohol have problems related with memory, learning and other brain functions. Animals that had been tested suggest that these problems could last into adulthood. Continuous research makes it more and more clear that the teenage brain is vulnerable particularly to the harmful effects of alcohol.

Boys and girls that had disorders caused by alcohol use showed greater brain activity during a memory test than other adolescents, even though the scores were similar in both groups. However, when women ages eighteen to twenty-five took the same test, there was a different pattern.

Compared with other women their age, the women who had an alcohol problem since adolescence showed less brain activity during the memory test and had poorer scores. These studies suggest that in the early stages of an alcohol disorder, the brain might try to compensate by using additional neurons to perform certain tasks. However, if the person continues to drink into young adulthood, the brain cells may be damaged even more and it will be too much for the brain to overcome.

Studies showed that binge drinking damaged parts of the adolescent brain that were not effected in the adult brain. In one experiment, adult rats that had been binge drinkers as adolescents showed



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