Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of eight or more units in a single session for men, and six or more units in a single session for women. This means that underage users of alcohol that are consuming at least those amounts could be damaging their brain; however these effects may not be seen until later into adult hood. Dr. Fulton Crews, who led the study, said that during adolescense, the brain's developing neural circuits are more vulnerable to damage. He goes on to state "our findings suggest that individuals who drink heavily during adolescence may be more likely to have deficits in being able to adapt successfully to changing life situations as adults, possibly tied to chemical and/or structural changes in the frontal cortex."
He goes on to explain that drinking alcohol impacts the part of the brain that allows individuals to predict the consequences of a particular action, control impulses, refine reasoning, and evaluate rewards. Thus, by impairing the part of the brain that controls these things, people are more prone to make bad choices and be unaware of the possible consequences.
Therefore, it is important for adolescents to be aware of the affect binge drinking can have on overall brain development. It has now been linked to causing brain injuries that may not manifest until much later in life.
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