The United States is one of the few countries in the world that has a 21 drinking age. Famously, Europe and Mexico both disagree with the U.S. and set their drinking ages lower, to the delight of many summer break co-eds. This restriction may seem stodgy and typical of conservative-leaning U.S. however there is real science behind this restriction. This article will go over how alcohol affects the adolescent brain and the potential impacts on the future.
Alcohol is a drug that seriously affects the brain and nervous system. Anyone who has had too much to drink remembers the slowed reactions, dulled senses and numbness. Alcohol is able to cause these effects because it attacks the brain. An adult brain can (mostly) cope with the effects however developing brains remain vulnerable. This affects all brains, from adolescents to adults.
But, unlike a fully grown adult brain, adolescents and young adults continue developing into their early 20s. So alcohol consumed by people at this young age can have long-lasting effects will into their adult life. Alcohol most prominently affects memory development such that teens who are medium to heavy drinkers suffer from significant memory reduction.
Additionally, since these young minds are still growing they are more vulnerable to the immediate effects. This means teenagers and young adults are more prone to alcohol poisoning, blackouts and memory loss.
The effects of all this alcohol is a marked decline in cognitive function. Young people that consume alcohol have lower test scores, perform worse in school and develop social issues. Furthermore, since serotonin is released while consuming alcohol (serotonin regulates impulse control), adolescents are more susceptible to alcoholism.
If your child was arrested for underage drinking then you may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney. Underage drinking, as discussed above, risks more than their future, it can risk their health. It may seem like a small thing but overtime this can cause reduced mental faculties for your children. Talk about the risks of alcohol.