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Alcoholism and Teenagers

Teen drinking statistics show that youth first try alcohol at 11 years of age for boys and 13 years of age for girls. The average age at which Americans begin drinking regularly is 15.9 years old.

9.7 Million Americans between the ages of 12 to 20 report drinking. Individuals that use alcohol before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to abuse alcohol than those who first use alcohol at age 21 or older.   

Adolescence is a critical time during brain development.  The areas of the brain that are developing at this age are the frontal lobes and the hippocampus. The Frontal lobes and the hippocampus are associated with motivation, impulse control and addiction, memory, emotions, and attention.  During the development of these areas, alcohol can have possible long term effects on a teenager’s ability to completely develop higher level cognitive, social, and emotional skills. 

Research on the effects of alcohol on brain development during adolescence is associated with impairments in learning and memory. 

Drinking on a regular basis makes it more difficult for the brain to be able to store new information as memories, which makes recalling newly learned information difficult.  Alcohol consumption during adolescence may even cause permanent damage to these areas of the brain.  Learning difficulties caused by teen drinking will result in poor school performance, which places them at higher risk for depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and thoughts of violence. 

More information on Alcoholism

  • Alcoholism Overview
  • Is there a cure for alcoholism?
  • What are the signs of alcoholism?
  • Alcoholism Treatment Options
  • Alcoholism Therapy
  • Treatment Options for Alcoholism in Teenagers
  • Tips for Parents regarding Alcohol
    • Discuss the facts of alcohol and read about other tips for parents regarding alcoholism
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