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Binge Drinking is More Likely to Affect Teen Girls

Binge Drinking is More Likely to Affect Teen Girls

Teen girls’ brains are hit harder by binge drinking than their male peers, according to new study from the University of California, San Diego, and Stanford University.  Women may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol abuse at a young age because their brains develop more quickly, although other physiological differences may also account for the study’s disturbing results.  According to the BBC,

“Female teenage heavy drinkers had less brain activation in several brain regions than female non-drinking teens when doing the same spatial task.  [Researchers] suggested that this could cause problems when driving, playing sports involving complex moves, using a map or remembering how to get somewhere.”  Other members of the study team added that binge drinking appeared to have negative impacts on concentration and “working memory.”

Boys were also negatively impacted, but not nearly to the same degree.  Interestingly, these studies mirror findings about male and female adult alcoholics.  Susan Tapert, a psychiatry professor at Stanford, explained, “While both men and women are adversely affected, women are often more vulnerable than men to deleterious effects on the brain.”

The study, which will be published in October, warned that 3 in 10 American teens in their senior year of high school reported binge drinking.  Although women appear to be more adversely affected by these unhealthy drinking habits, the study points to a need for more work to prevent teens from abusing alcohol.

The need for further steps is crucial because, as Professor Edith Sullivan pointed out, “Long after a young person – middle school to college – enjoys recovery from a hangover, this study shows that risk to cognitive and brain functions endures.”  Young people, many of whom binge drink only occasionally, may not realize what a serious effect these sporadic episodes have on their cognitive functions – but they should.

Related Stories:

Drinking (Even a Little) + Driving = Not Safe At All

Queen’s University Told to Address “Culture of Drinking”

Are Kids Who Drink With Their Parents More Likely to Have Alcohol Problems Later?

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Photo from Clock via Wikimedia Commons.

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61 comments

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5:26PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

i think kids only do this because they think that society thinks of them as "cool" when they do it.

2:46PM PDT on Aug 26, 2011

Very worrisome.

1:52PM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

thank you! i'm glad i read this

8:04PM PDT on Jul 19, 2011

thanks for sharing.

6:23AM PDT on Jul 19, 2011

The trouble with this is that...tax payer have to pay for them when they go to hospital. or other place to get dried up.......again...and ...again.....

MAKE the parents pay and then you will see them controling there children...

BUT there is NO VOTE in making parents responsable for their kids...that they are 1 year old or 18........

the public is the one who has to suffer with verbal abuse ...at the best......sorry but no sympathy for them!

5:37AM PDT on Jul 19, 2011

Thanks for the article.

2:10PM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

I don't think it is entirely a matter of letting teens know that binge drinking is physically damaging. Unfortunately many will continue to do it even if they are aware of the negative effects. As a young person myself, I know that in I drank more than I knew I should because at the time you just think "oh I'll be fine". As we get older we take more responsibility for possible dangers. In sum, maturity is what will change this behaviour, not necessarily knowledge.

10:35AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

Young people aren't stupid; they just think they're invincible. They also succumb to peer pressure to be 'cool'. Most of them just follow the Piper instead of thinking for themselves. So do many adults; it's easier to follow than to think for yourself and make your own decisions. That's people, that's life. Give them the knowledge and then let them get on with it. I believe in freedom of choice. My tolerance level for sheer stupidity is very low, and caring hurts too much, so I'd rather just let go of the whole thing and keep myself sane. It's late; perhaps things will look brighter in the morning!

8:58AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

Michael M. Please reread what you posted.
"You don't see me judging people just for being older" - followed by -
"At least my generation is trying to make the world a better place while yours is trying to destroy it."
Is that not judging and generalizing.
By the way, I also do not smoke, drink or use drugs and never have. It's SO uncool regardless of sex or age. An old drunk is no less sexy or cool than a young one. Nobody is generalizing about young people EXCEPT that habits and addictions can be formed more easily early in life, for example smoking, and due to the still maturing condition of the brain in teens, more damage can be done. Also, due to the attitude of "immortality" that we all felt at that age, consequences are often considered less than they should be. That is NOT a blanket condemnation of that particular age group, just biologically and psychologically factual.

8:32AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

@Patricia J.

your statements are highly misinformed.

first of all hash or marijuana in general has no physically addictive properties.
this is well known and documented.
People still end up addicted to it because you can be addicted to anything you like from food to anything else.
It's very rare that anyone is actually addicted to it.
I've quit at least 20 times just temporarily for money
and each time, it took less than a week to be over it.

Second, you have this idea in your head that we're all crazy and have orgies all day long.
that's just ridiculous.
I've never been in an orgy in my life.
that's nasty and a good way to get an std.
not that I'd judge anyone if that's their thing though.

regardless on which side of the argument you're on,
a legal age limit for marijuana would be a lot better than what we have right now.
As it is, any kid can get it and it's so bad that the kids themselves are the dealers.
back when alcohol prohibition was in effect, there were record amounts of young people drinking and then after only a decade after it ending..
they starting dropping drastically.

If you don't want your kids smoking it,
then support some legislation that would put a legal age limit of it.
Plus, if it was unavoidable and your kids did end up doing it..
would you want them to get a criminal record/jail time for it,
because that's also been proven to turn small time offenders into serious criminals.

think about this subject carefully.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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