A new study finds that binge drinking among young adults can be the cause of serious damage to the developing brain. In binge drinkers ages 18 to 25, some University of Cincinnati researchers found links to damage in the areas of the brain that help people process emotions, plan and make decisions, and pay attention.
Binge drinking has long been a way for young adults and teens to display their independence, almost as if it were a right of passage. This problem is certainly not an isolated one. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that nearly 42% of young American adults between the ages of 18 and 25 have participated in binge drinking.
Dr. David McKinzie, assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, states “The implications of this study are that teenagers who drink heavily and often may be susceptible to the neurobehavioural effects of alcohol than would adults with similar drinking experiences.” There is particular concern that binge drinking at an early age will cause lasting damage to the brain.
Developing brains are greatly affected by the neurotoxins associated with alcohol. Time McQueeny, a UC doctoral student and co-researching in this pilot study, noted the more intense the binge drinking was, the more severe the brain damage. After a night of partying, the effects of heavy drinking will last much longer than the hangover.
Binge drinking is also dangerous because it is often downplayed. Because it is prevalent in young people, especially college campuses, it is considered a social norm. People who binge drink are hesitant to get treatment because they believe they don’t need it since they can continue living their everyday life, outside of the binge drinking events. They are able to go to classes, hold down a job, etc.
If you know a young adult who is binge drinking, it’s never too early to help them get treatment. Our effective alcohol rehab focuses on the young person as a whole, not just the alcohol problem. This is important because young people who binge drink are doing so for underlying reasons, typically peer pressure and lack of self-confidence.
In order to stop any further damage from occurring, proper education about the use of alcohol and its lasting effects is needed. Our alcohol rehab center incorporates education within our multi-faceted approach, giving young adults the information as well as the healing they need to choose not to binge drink.