The next day? Hangover from hell. And suddenly the memory. ‘Oh God, I didn’t do that, did I? Then the shame kicks in.
The parts of the brain responsible for impulse control don’t fully mature until we’re about age 25. This means teenagers – and our own peers – are generally more likely to make impulsive, emotional decisions without thinking about the consequences.
Adding alcohol to this mix is effectively a double-whammy for danger. Inhibitions drop, impulsiveness increases and decision-making gets worse. Co-ordination and reaction time slow down. This combination of changes all conspire to greatly increase the risk of accidents.
Climbing across balconies is rarely a feat that is attempted sober – the same goes for dancing on tables, jumping on cars – you can paint the pictures yourself.
Deep down we all know this is not courage or intelligence or skill. It’s alcohol-fuelled, risk-taking – a significant cause of injuries and deaths from falls, drowning, fires and road traffic accidents.
We are also more likely to take other kinds of chances while under the influence of alcohol. We all know it – our ability to weigh up risks and benefits, especially longer-term consequences, is impaired. From unsafe sex to fights with strangers to impulsively experimenting with drugs .
Young people who use alcohol also risk losing their impulse control in the long term. Research suggests that heavy drinking during adolescence may cause structural changes in the brain that make a person behave less predictably during later life, even when they are not intoxicated.
The parts of the brain responsible for impulse control don’t fully mature until we’re about 25 years old.