The effect of alcohol on the adolescent brain

Adolescence and alcohol is not a good combination. Drinking alcohol excessively hinders the development of the prefrontal cortex and can promote learning difficulties and stunted growth. You can read exactly how that works here.

The brain is constructed as a very complex network of nerve cells in which numerous connections arise and disappear between brain regions. A fine example of Mother Nature's work. The brains of young people are still developing until about 24 years of age. Different parts of the brain develop at different rates.

Prefrontal wadding?

For example, the prefrontal cortex – frontal lobe – is a part of the brain that undergoes significant growth during puberty (and well beyond). The prefrontal cortex is responsible for taking responsibility, planning, foreseeing consequences, and being considerate of others. During this maturation process, the body ensures that superfluous brain cells are cleaned up. When adolescents drink alcohol excessively while the brain cells are still maturing, too many brain cells may be broken down. This hinders the growth of the prefrontal cortex. As a result, someone's personality can change.

Learning disabilities and growth disorder

Character change isn't the only thing that can happen as a result of drinking too many alcoholic drinks. It can also have a negative impact on cognitive functioning. What an adolescent then notices is that his memory falters and planning tasks is difficult for him. Attention and concentration problems hinder his learning performance. In addition, drinking during puberty can lead to growth disorders. The pituitary gland is a gland located in the center of the head below the brain. The pituitary gland is responsible for a number of hormones, including growth hormone. Drinking a lot at a young age therefore leads to growth disorders.

 How do you prevent your teenager from drinking?

First of all, talking about alcohol is very important. Discuss why drinking alcohol at a young age can be dangerous. Make sure you listen carefully to your child, take your child seriously and give him time to think about what you have discussed. Make agreements with your adolescent about drinking behaviour, but be clear. Aside from the strict convention that children under 18 shouldn't drink alcohol, there are a few other rules you could set:

-Agree on quantities (one glass per party is best)

- Only drink on weekends

-Do not drink on a busy next day (school / work)

-If you still have to participate in traffic (also as a pedestrian) you don't drink

-Provide non-alcoholic drinks at parties at home

What agreements have you made with your adolescent regarding drinking alcohol?

Let us know in a comment!



Boekentip: Alcohol Alarm!

Eerst was er de podcast ‘Alcohol Alarm!‘ en nu is daar dan ook het boek. Bekende Vlaming Evi Heyndrickx, podcaster, spreker, entert(r)ainer en mentor, vertelde eerder in podcastvorm al openhartig…
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