Alcohol Effects on Adolescence

Alarming Results

As a drug and alcohol counsellor I am aware that there has been an unprecedented increase in the level of alcohol and drug use by our teenagers over the past few years.

It has prompted me to share with you the facts around the risks of early alcohol use in a developing brain and how this behaviour can lead to lifelong consequences.

Teenage developmental behaviour

Every adult has experienced the invincible mindset of an adolescent. Taking risks without any idea of the consequence is a normal part of adolescent development.

It’s an age of coming into adulthood, wanting to push back and make decisions for themselves. Making your own choices in adolescence is a normal and health part of human development.

What is not part of healthy human development is the use of mind altering substances and this has become one of the biggest problems for families today.

Taking drugs should not be a normal part of development

When it comes to drug use, no teenager is immune to its impact and the long term damage it causes to the brain. Alcohol consumption impacts all adults to some extent, but its effects are far more detrimental to the teenager whose brain is still being developed.

Understanding Consequences of Behaviour

As parent of a youth it might be difficult for you to convince your teenager that their behaviour is a problem, but often facts speak louder than just words of warning.

Facts speak louder than advice

The information below has been taken from extensive research and shows what long-term, life changing effects this type of behaviour can cause for the young person.

Alcohol and the developing brain

Avoiding drugs and alcohol as long as possible is obviously the safest option.

Below are some of the reasons alcohol should be avoided for as long as possible.

Alcohol is a depressant that affects the brain by causing the brain to slow down.

Alcohol can permanently change the development of the teenage brain which continues developing into their mid twenties.

Alcohol can negatively impact on your teenager’s problem-solving skills and performance at school.

According to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC):Children under 15 are at greatest risk of harm from drinking and for this age group, not drinking alcohol is especially important.

For young people 15 to 17, the safest option is to delay the initiation of drinking alcohol for as long as possible.

These guidelines are based on the best available evidence about alcohol-related harm and young people.

What effect does alcohol have on the developing brain?

The earlier a person starts drinking alcohol at harmful levels the greater the risk of changing the development of the brain. These changes lead to problems with memory and learning and increases the risk of having alcohol-related problems later in life.

Alcohol is a depressant that affects the brain by causing the brain to slow down.

This can result in:

  • slurred speech
  • confusion
  • poor vision
  • poor muscle control and judgement
  • slower reactions
  • lack of coordination
  • sleep disruption.

Long-term damage to the brain

While research tells us alcohol can damage the developing brain it is not clear how much alcohol it takes to do this.

For these reasons, it is recommended that for under 18s no alcohol is the safest choice and that they delay the initiation of drinking for as long as possible.

The long term effects of alcohol

Alcohol can negatively impact on your teenagers problem-solving skills and performance at school as well as potentially affecting their body, mood and mental health

What’s being impacted

There are several parts of the brain affected by alcohol during the teenage years.

However, there are two areas that are most affected because of the momentous changes they are undergoing at this time. These are:

The hippocampus which is responsible for memory and learning. Studies of adolescents show that heavy and extended alcohol use is associated with a 10 per cent reduction in the size of the hippocampus.

It also shows that the function of the hippocampus is uniquely sensitive to alcohol at this time and that alcohol may be poisonous to the nerve cells of the hippocampus causing them to be damaged or destroyed.

The prefrontal lobe which is important for planning, judgement, decision making, impulse control and language is the area of the brain that changes the most during the teenage years. Research with heavy drinking adolescents shows that these young people have smaller prefrontal lobes than young people of the same age who do not drink.

The truth is it alcohol will affect your teenagers brain for life

The body of research about the effects of alcohol on the developing brain is still growing.

If you are concerned about your teenager drinking alcohol, maybe they need to consider trying hypnotherapy.

Find the solution to this behaviour

Changing bad habits early is easier than waiting until after the damage has already been done.

Remember there is nothing clever about brain damage.

Only you will have to live with the consequences of your actions.

These statistics have been taking from https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/alcohol/about-alcohol/what-are-the-effects-of-alcohol please note these statistics apply to adults not teenagers.

Short-term effects

Drinking alcohol can affect your body straight away. A healthy person is likely to experience the following:

  • BAC of up to 0.05:
    • feeling of wellbeing
    • talkative, relaxed and more confident
  • BAC of 0.05 to 0.08:
    • impaired judgement and movement
    • reduced inhibitions
  • BAC of 0.08 to 0.15:
    • slurred speech
    • impaired balance, coordination, vision and reflexes
    • unstable emotions
    • nausea and vomiting
  • BAC of 0.15 to 0.30:
    • unable to walk without help
    • sleepy
    • difficulty breathing
    • memory loss
    • loss of bladder control
    • possible loss of consciousness
  • BAC of over 0.30:
    • coma
    • death

In the short term, drinking too much alcohol can also lead to:

  • accidental injury (to yourself or others)
  • being in a road accident
  • deliberately harming yourself or others
  • unprotected or unwanted sex

Long-term effects

Drinking more than 2 standard drinks a day can seriously affect your health over your lifetime. Again these statistics are based on adult consumption.

Long-term effects include:

So why do teenagers drink alcohol?

It’s often the age old reasons:

To be included, to fit in, to feel like they belong, to avoid emotions such as anxiety, depression, sadness or anger

Whatever the reason it often boils down to a rejection of self

Not feeling good enough, not feeling accepted, or not feeling valued

Hypnotherapy can help

Hypnotherapy can help build self esteem and self confidence. When a person feels good about themselves they want to choose better things for themself.

Call Donna today on 0424 300 678 if you think you child needs support changing their behaviour.

They will thank you later.

Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, Counselling, Reiki, EMDR,Past Life Regression, QHHT, Shamanic Healing, Energy Healing, Meditation Classes