The hard evidence proves that children and young people are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of alcohol. Our bodies and brains are still developing. They can also be smaller and lighter, so alcohol is absorbed more quickly. And, as our brains develop right up until our mid-20s, a night out drinking can have effects that linger long after the hangover has worn off.
This is very important news for those of us over 18 but imagine how crucial it is for the children and teens we know. They listen to us so we should make sure that alcohol doesn’t get the chance to harm them. Of course we start by being smart ourselves around our own drinking and taking care of our own mental health.
The science tells us that key areas of the brain are still “under construction” during our teens and are more sensitive to alcohol’s toxic and damaging effects. These can be both short term and long term. Alcohol can damage an area of the brain related to learning and memory, as well as the area responsible for logic, reasoning, self-regulation and judgement. Studying and taking exams can become more difficult and mental wellbeing can also deteriorate.
Being a teenager is difficult enough – when alcohol is added, it can become a lot harder.