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New Studies Indicate that Teenage Binge Drinking Causes Memory & Decision Making Difficulties Later in Life

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Alcohol and drug abuse during the teenage years can be detrimental to the development of a teenager’s brain. Not only can it cause memory loss, decision-making difficulties later in life it can also slow the learning process, and have a negative impact on social skills.

Animal & Human Studies

"Both animal models and observational studies in humans suggest that binge drinking during adolescence alters normal developmental processes in a way that negatively impacts learning and social adjustment into adulthood," says study researcher Robert J. Thoma, PhD, a psychiatrist at the Center for Neuropsychological Services of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

These negative results can begin showing up as early as the late teen years. Which can make finishing high school or attending college very difficult if not impossible?

One study involved 48 adolescents from 12 to 18 years old. 19 of them had been diagnosed with a substance abuse problem, 14 of the participants had a family history of abuse but not a personal history and the remaining 15 had no history of substance abuse at all.

The tests assessed their memory, attention, executive function, reasoning with words, how quickly they process new information (processing speed), and their ability to visually perceive the space between objects.

The 19 participants with a substance abuse problem drank an average of 13 drinks on the days they drank alcohol. Those 19 teenagers scored significantly lower on all the tests than the participants who did not engage in binge drinking.

Teenage binge drinking is becoming an epidemic the only way to put an end to it is for parents, teachers and the community as a whole to work together and educate and counsel this teenagers before it is to late.