Alcohol use during adolescence can change the developing brain structure and can permanently impair the way the brain functions. Use of alcohol also interferes with the brain’s reward and communication pathways.

These disruptions can:
– Impact executive functioning and school performance
– lmpair judgment and decision making
– Decrease ability in attention and concentration
– Increase risky behavior

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Alcohol: The impact on the teen brain.

Alcohol use during adolescence can change the developing brain structure and can permanently impair the way the brain functions. Because the brain is not done fully developing until young adulthood (early- to mid-twenties), choices that teens make can impact brain functioning into adulthood.

Use of alcohol also interferes with the brain’s reward and communication pathways. The brain is made up of multiple, interconnected systems; the most complex functions and skills (such as dividing our attention between multiple equally-important tasks) often involve multiple systems working together.

Disruptions to communication pathways (communication between different areas or systems in the brain) can: impact key skills like planning and organization; impact school performance overall; decrease students’ ability in the areas of attention and concentration.

Additionally, alcohol use can impair judgment and decision-making, as well as lead to increased risky behavior. When teens use alcohol, the brain systems responsible for assessing a situation and evaluating the potential outcomes of a choice they make are not functioning at their best (potentially resulting in poor choices or risky behaviors, for example).

For help and more information, contact:
Lauren McArdle, Ph.D., District 95 at 847-540-4973
or Sara Marx, LCPC, NCC, Ela Township at 847-540-8380