By Staff Writer
Alcohol exposure during adolescence may cause a range of neurological changes in individuals, which may increase their risk for future substance abuse and addiction.
For example, a team of researchers from Loyola University found that binge drinking teenagers may alter their body’s ability to respond to stress as adults. The findings indicate that alcohol causes neurological changes deep in the brain that are responsible for these deficiencies.
Researchers said that alcohol exposure in puberty permanently alters the system in the brain that triggers the body’s response to stress hormones. While many teens believe that any harm their drinking habits may be causing is temporary, the findings indicate that there may actually be long-term consequences to binge drinking during adolescence.
An inability to properly process stress hormones may have a range of negative health consequences. High levels of cortisol, the main hormone associated with responses to stress, have been shown to contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease.
Parents who suspect their children of alcohol abuse may want to consider substance abuse programs for youth before any permanent brain damage can occur.