HEALTH EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL

Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world. Some people believe that “moderate” drinking is harmless for teens. In reality, all teens who drink alcohol expose themselves to a greater risk for several health problems including problems in the brain, heart and liver. Fortunately, teen drinking has declined over the two decades and can continue to drop if teens know the risks of alcohol use.

When we talk to teens about moderation, we are simply not speaking the same language. To many teens, six or seven drinks is moderation. The take-away message: Be clear when talking about alcohol and set a “no-use” policy as part of your house rules.
— Sharon Levy, MD, MPH. Director of Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children's Hospital
  • Teens who consume alcohol often binge drink. This means consuming 5 or more drinks at one time. Consuming large amounts of alcohol at once can have severe impacts on the brain, even without continued alcohol use in the future.

  • While intoxicated, the brain’s communication pathways are impaired which disrupts mood and behavior and makes it difficult to think clearly.

  • Heavy drinking can lead to liver disease, one of the leading causes of death in the US.

  • Long-term heavy drinking and binge drinking weakens the heart muscle, making it difficult to pump blood to the body’s organs, and can make the heart beat irregularly. Binge drinkers are also 39% more likely to suffer a stroke than those that never binge drink and may suffer from high blood pressure.


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