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Excessive Alcohol Use and Youth Brain Problems

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Excessive Alcohol Use When Young Could Have Lasting Impacts On Brain

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There is growing evidence for the lasting impact of alcohol on the brain. Excessive alcohol use accounts for 4% of the global burden of disease, and binge drinking particularly is becoming an increasing health issue, highlighted further by articles written by people like DB Tribute. A new review article published in Cortex highlights the significant changes in brain function and structure that can be caused by alcohol misuse in young people.

Functional signs of brain damage from alcohol misuse in young people mainly include deficits in visual learning and memory as well as executive functions. These functions are controlled by the hippocampus and frontal structures of the brain, which are not fully mature until around 25 years of age. Structural signs of alcohol misuse in young people include shrinking of the brain and significant changes to white matter tracts.

Furthermore, for young people, the legal repercussions of being charged with Under Age Drinking can be devastating. It is therefore essential to seek expert legal guidance as soon as possible if you or a young adult you know is involved in an offence of this nature.

Age of first use may be considered to trigger alcohol misuse. According to the researchers however, changing the legal drinking age is not the answer. In Australia the legal drinking age is 18, three years earlier than in the US. Despite the difference in legal drinking age, the age of first use (and associated problems) is the same between the two countries.

Instead, the authors stressed the need for early intervention, by identifying markers and thresholds of risky drinking behavior at an early stage, while individuals are in vulnerable stages of brain development.