How Underage Drinking Affects the Brain

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The image to the right is the brain scans of two people, with colored areas indicating brain activity. The top scan is from a sober 15 year old boy who doesn’t drink alcohol. He is demonstrating healthy brain activity. The bottom scan is from a sober 15 year old boy who often drinks alcohol. His greatly reduced brain activity shows the effects of underage drinking. Unfortunately, the toll that alcohol has taken on this boy’s brain is irreversible. Our brains don’t fully develop until age 25, making youth especially susceptible to permanent damage from drug and alcohol use.

Now, a new study has shown that besides damaging one’s intellectual abilities, underage drinking can permanently stunt emotional growth as well. The study shows that alcohol prevents a key part of the brain’s development, locking youth who drink into an emotionally immature state, even as they grow up. This becomes an even bigger problem upon reaching adulthood, since the permanent damage can leave them without the emotional and intellectual capacity to deal with adult life. The study showed that underage binge drinking (having many drinks in a short time) puts a person at particularly high risk for these problems. The researchers also showed that the earlier in life youth start drinking, the worse the consequences.

Kids who drink alcohol before age 15 are 5 times more likely to develop alcohol abuse or dependence than those who wait until 21. In the Chandler Redevelopment Area, the average age youth try alcohol is 12.6 years old. Furthermore, 17% of high school students in the 85255 zip code say they have binge drank. This puts youth in our communities at high risk of the damaging effects of alcohol. CCYSA works to address this issue and put a stop to underage drinking. Please support us in our mission. For more information on CCYSA and how to get involved, check out our website (, Like our Facebook page (, or send an email to

Source: Brisbane Times,


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