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Teen Binge Drinking, Spring Break, and Brain Development

Teen Binge Drinking - The Bergand Group

It’s the time of year when people, off from school and work, grab a red cup, head to the beach, and often engage in binge drinking. This can be a turbulent and dangerous time for those without the predisposition to addiction, and for those with issues of substance abuse, spring break can be a terrifying concept. Even more dangerous is when it’s teen binge drinking, where those who are overdoing it are at a greater risk…

The Dangers of Teen Binge Drinking

“According to the NIAAA, during spring break, 44 percent of college girls and 75 percent of college guys get drunk on a daily basis. Approximately half of college students binge drink—many will drink to the point of passing out at least once during their vacation.” These numbers may not be surprising, but that passive acceptance of the excess exhibited by students and adults alike is part of the massive problem (and this problem is not just for this time of year alone).

Even if these young people have no predisposition to an addiction, the sheer volume of alcohol that is consumed and the attitude with which it is approached is frightening. Beyond the short-term consequences of teen binge drinking and passing out, drinking at this level comes with the risk of brain damage. “Studies of MRI scans of the brains of young people who drank heavily showed damaged nerve tissue compared to those who did not drink.” If they were drinking in moderation it might be less detrimental, but the trend during spring break is to consume at an incredibly high (and fast) rate.

At this stage, the brains of these teens are still in development. There are physical consequences for this level of consumption. Unfortunately, many people who are committed to enjoying their spring breaks have a mindset of ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,’ however dire and unpleasant those results may be. “High consumption of alcohol can result in breathing problems, slow down the heart rate and alter the body’s ability to regulate temperature, leading to a shutdown of the body’s life-support functions.” It isn’t difficult to imagine that these issues would be dangerous to anyone, particularly to those who are still going through brain development.

Historically, spring break is thought of by most as a free-for-all, as a week (or so) of drinking and other wild behaviors on beaches and at bars. Though many young people may think so, having fun is not synonymous with getting drunk. There are dozens of ways to have a great time on vacation and to blow off stress without putting yourself in danger. If you are the parent of one of these students, sit down with them and talk about the dangers involved. You don’t have to offer a lecture in order to get through to them; they may just need the reminder that others are affected by their choices.

If you are a person getting ready to head out for spring break, then remember to participate in moderation. If you are going to drink, then drink in a smart way that doesn’t allow for blackouts and other serious consequences. Look out for your friends and for others and encourage them to do the same so that everyone has a good time and makes it home without incident.

To learn more about the effects of teen binge drinking on their developing brains, contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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