Many studies have been conducted to study the effect that alcohol has on the developing brain. Though unknown to many people, our brains actually continue to grow sometimes even into our early twenties. With that, many professionals say that during that growth period it is important that our brains take minimal to no debilitating substances. To that end, especially in minors, it is important that we avoid excessive alcohol use if we want to keep our minds as strong and healthy as possible.
Many studies that have observed the effect that excessive alcohol on the developing brain found significant effects on the hippocampus. The part of the brain that is responsible for memory and learning is severy reduced in size in most cases where alcohol is excessively present. This is due to the chemicals in alcoholic beverages being what they call “poisonous” to hippocampus brain cells.
In addition to the hippocampus, many studies have shown that alcohol also does damage to the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that accounts for planning, judgment, and compulsive control. These studies often show that the test subjects who have drunk significant amounts of alcohol over a long period of time usually have smaller prefrontal lobes than those who did not.
As previously mentioned, the hippocampus is responsible for memory and learning. In these studies, when the affected patient had a misshapen hippocampus, they tended to have learning difficulties in school due to impaired memory. In addition, these damages can have long term effects on adulthood as well, as the memories learned in adolescence often are responsible for personality traits as adults
The prefrontal cortex is responsible for memory, rational thinking, and our personalities. These parts of our brains actually continue to grow and develop up into our mid-twenties. For these reasons, abstaining from alcohol is the safest way to ensure that no lifelong damage is done to this part of the brain.
The hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex are not the only parts of the brain that are affected by excessive use of alcohol, though they are the only parts that will be covered here. It is important to know, especially as a parent to a teenager, all of the risks involved with underage alcohol consumption.
Harmony Grove Recovery
Harmony Grove Recovery is a rehabilitation center located in Escondido, CA. We specialize in people who are looking for a community to assist in their recovery process. If you or someone you know are showing signs of alcoholism, especially a minor, we highly encourage you to reach out to us to consult our services. Remember that there are always options and communities out there to help you.