Posts Tagged teen alcohol abuse

Alcohol Affects Brain Development In Teens, Study Says

Teenagers are undergoing several physiological developments, but a recent study showed that incorrect habits may disrupt the normal changes in them.

teen alcohol abuseA comprehensive study by researchers of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) revealed how alcohol consumption can affect the brain development in adolescents. Study lead author Susan Tapert said that the team’s study is one of the largest of its kind to investigate the effect of alcohol on teenage development. “This study was a little bit larger than previous studies since it started out with 130 adolescents before they had tried any alcohol and followed them over several years,” Tapert said in a news item.

Effects of alcohol were imminent in the way teenage girls were doing in school. “For girls who had been engaging in heavy drinking during adolescence, it looks like they’re performing more poorly on tests of spatial functioning, which links to mathematics, engineering kinds of functions,” Tapert said. Meanwhile, male teens may find difficulty focusing on things when they drink alcohol. “For boys who engaged in binge drinking during adolescence, we see poor performance on tests of attention — so being able to focus on something that might be somewhat boring, for a sustained period of time,” Tapert added.

The reason behind this, according to the study proponents, is the ongoing set of changes in teenage bodies. “Adolescent brains are still developing even into their early 20s, and alcohol can harm how the brain develops,” the study lead author expressed.

Details of the study were published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.


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Alcohol Abuse in Adulthood Traced To Binge Drinking in Teenage Years

Teenagers engaged in frequent binge drinking are highly likely to abuse alcohol when they reach adulthood, a study finds.

drinking alcoholThis was revealed by a group of researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine when they investigated the effects of teen binge drinking in the human body. According to a news release, the study involved administering alcohol to rats for two days without any other food except water. The schedule of administration was repeated over a course of 13 days, after which the animals were checked whether they preferred to drink alcohol or water.

Results revealed that the alcohol-receiving rodents exhibited anxiety and preferred alcohol over water. According to the researchers, this abnormal behavior in the test subjects was because of changes in the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes emotions and decision-making. Previous studies have confirmed that alcohol intoxication can cause damage in the said parts of the brain.

Although the study was conducted on lab rats, the same trend might be translated to humans, particularly on how histone proteins and DNA genes are affected by the malfunction of the amygdala. “Genes that lie within DNA that is tightly wrapped around the histones are less active than they are if the DNA is loosely wrapped… The looser the DNA is coiled, the more accessible are the genes to the cellular machinery that makes relevant proteins,” said study lead author Dr. Subhash C. Pandey, who also works as director of the university’s neuroscience alcoholism research center.

Study findings were published in the Neurobiology of Disease journal.


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Binge Drinking Associated With Brain Malfunction in Teenagers

According to a new study, teenagers may suffer from brain damage during later years when they engage in binge drinking now.

teen alcohol drinkingResearchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst found a link between teen binge drinking and reduction in brain protection. The researchers looked into a substance called myelin, a material that improves electrical impulse transfers across the nervous system. Loss of myelin has been linked to impairment of brain functioning as well as neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases.

The study involved testing laboratory mice that were given access to free-flowing sweetened alcohol during the adolescent stage, with a control group receiving sweetened water only. Results showed that as the test rats grew, the group that drank alcohol were found to have lower myelin levels in the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

Study co-author Dr. Heather Richardson said that the results may confirm previous studies about the effects of teen binge drinking on overall brain processing. “Our study provides novel data demonstrating that alcohol drinking early in adolescence causes lasting myelin deficits in the prefrontal cortex. These findings suggest that alcohol may negatively affect brain development in humans and have long-term consequences on areas of the brain that are important for controlling impulses and making decisions,” Richardson said in a news release.

In addition to this, rats exposed to alcohol were found to have poorer memory. This could translate to memory and learning impairment in people who engage in excessive alcohol consumption.

The study authors are hopeful that their discovery could be used to investigate the importance of myelin in preventing schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome and other psychiatric disorders.

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Study: Teen Alcohol Abuse Mostly Triggered By Aggression

If you think anxiety and depressive tendencies lead teenagers to alcohol use, a new study confirms another factor that triggers alcoholism in teens.

teen alcohol abuseAccording to a study from the University of Finland, aggressive behavior leads teenagers to a greater likelihood of alcohol abuse. The age-old belief that anxious thoughts and depression lead people to drink more seems to not apply in the case of the younger generation. The tendency to drink more as a result of aggression was exhibited more in female teenagers than their male counterparts, according to a news report.

On the part of gender, female teens were also cited to be affected by divorce of parents, which could lead them to become heavy drinkers. Also an aggravating factor is an early menstrual bleeding.

The scope of the study included more than 4,000 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. Results of the study showed that 60 percent of the respondents admitted to taking alcohol, with more than half of them at 15 years of age.

In relation to U.S. settings, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) cited some of the factors leading to teen alcohol abuse: parental divorce, risk-taking behavior for the sake of peer acceptance, and parents who are likewise alcoholic. An effective alcohol intervention must be done on teens as soon as parents observe the behavior.

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Effective Alcohol Intervention For Teens Should Involve Personalized Touch

A team of researchers focused on helping college students stop unhealthy alcohol consumption has just discovered one of the best ways to intervene: a personal touch.

alcohol abuseResearchers led by Lori Scott-Sheldon of The Miriam’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine reveal the importance of early intervention by screening freshmen on the first weeks of school. With a wide spectrum of teenagers entering college, many different patterns and motivations for drinking came up. This became the basis of the group’s recommendation to use a tailor-fit approach to each and every case of alcoholism.

Published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, the study reviewed the effectiveness of several programs of alcohol intervention for teens spread across the U.S. for the past decade. While the intervention techniques were unique to each other, most of the more effective ones tend to share a commonality, and that is a “personalized feedback report” as reported in UPI. The college freshman identified with a drinking problem must realize the repercussions of continuing the habit: financial drain, health risks, or flying past legal blood alcohol limits.

Scott-Sheldon also observed that combining two or more techniques to intervene any case of teenage alcohol abuse is the best method.

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Teen Substance Abuse Linked To Early Maturity

Children cannot wait to become grownups, and parents usually find this adorable. Now, a brand new survey suggests that moms and dads should be concerned about the rapid development of their kids into teenagers because this can lead to substance abuse.

teen addictionAccording to a study by a team of researcher from Austin’s University of Texas links early puberty to a higher risk of deveoplng substance abuse. Team lead Jessica Cance, who works at the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, cites how puberty can result not only to physical body changes but also the teen’s social and psychological health. “Our research has shown that pubertal development is a combination of biological, psychological and social processes that all likely interact to influence risk-taking behavior like substance use,” Cance shared in a news item.

The survey involved 6,500 teenagers between the ages of 11 and 17, monitored their puberty development based on physical changes, and assessed their susceptibility to abuse of cocaine, alcohol and drugs. Results of the study showed that those who enter puberty at an earlier stage in their life are more prone to engage in drug abuse.

Cance relates this to the individual’s biological development and links it to his or her perceived social maturity. She said the first student in class to experience biological maturity “prompts or exacerbates existing psychological and social aspects… that can, in turn, lead to substance use and other risky behaviors early in life.”

Earlier studies showed that society and marketing agencies lure teens into drug and alcohol use because these are “cool”. This breakthrough revelation from Cance’s team shows that the perceived feeling of maturity in children makes them more likely to drug abuse.

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