Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unchecked alcohol consumption contributes to almost 90,000 deaths in the U.S. each year? More than 4,000 of those alcohol-related deaths are young, underage people. In fact, alcohol is the most commonly misused addictive substance among teens and young adults in America. That’s why alcohol addiction treatment programs specifically for them are important.
Alcohol’s impact on brain development can’t be ignored. While excessive alcohol drinking is harmful to everyone, it’s worse for adolescents and teens because their brains are still developing. If you’re looking for outpatient alcohol addiction treatment programs in Pennsylvania, contact Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge today at 844.442.8673. The Naaman Center is here to help them.
What Is the Link Between Alcohol and Brain Development?
Many studies find numerous links between excessive consumption of alcohol and brain development problems. Even in the short term, alcohol consumption can affect areas of the brain controlling motor and cognitive functions. It can also cause disruptions in sleep patterns.
Problems with alcohol use can cause issues with coordination, learning, memory, and other types of cognitive damage. Without professional intervention, the brain can be permanently impaired by chronic alcohol use. However, proper addiction treatment may heal the brain and reverse the damage brought on by alcohol addiction.
Alcohol adversely affects several regions of the brain, as mentioned above, but it also affects the central nervous system (CNS). This includes not only the brain but also the spinal cord and the nerves. Because alcohol is a depressant, drinking a lot of it can lead to suppressed breathing and lowered body temperature, which can be life-threatening.
What Are Some Worrying Alcohol Effects on Brain Development?
During the adolescent and teenage years, the brain grows and changes in ways crucial for normal functioning in adult years. When young adults drink alcohol excessively, it can negatively interfere with brain development processes. Consistent and excessive use of alcohol can impact brain development in ways that lead to lifelong problems.
The brain controls body temperature, emotions, memory, motor functions, organs, thoughts, senses, and autonomic activities like breathing. That’s why any interference in brain development should be stopped as soon as possible. With an alcohol consumption problem, any of these brain functions can be affected. Here’s how alcohol affects the different parts of the brain:
This is the brain’s center of balance, coordination, equilibrium, and movement. When alcohol impairs this region of the brain, it affects balance and causes the body to be unsteady. This increases the risk of falling and may cause appendages to shake uncontrollably.
This is the brain’s thinking center, where incoming information is processed and decisions are made. Alcohol depresses the thinking function, which slows sensory information input, clouds the thought process, and reduces inhibitions.
The hippocampus controls memory. Alcohol can cause blackouts and memory loss and may even impact the brain’s ability to learn. Long-term use of alcohol can permanently affect the hippocampus and lead to the development of dementia.
Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland
These work together to link the CNS to the endocrine system. This region of the brain can stimulate and inhibit key hormonal processes from maintaining the body’s internal balance. Alcohol can either depress or disrupt the balance of this area while also impacting sexual desire and performance.
This brain region controls automatic functions, such as body temperature, breathing, and consciousness. When alcohol affects this region, these vital functions can be depressed. This causes drowsiness, lowered body temperature, and slowed breathing. These effects of alcohol can be life-threatening.
When Should Someone Consider Seeking an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program?
Studies have confirmed that consumption of alcohol can have adverse effects on brain development. That should be a reason to consider getting admitted into an alcohol addiction treatment program, especially if someone struggling with alcohol addiction is young.
Parents may be hesitant to send their children to an addiction treatment facility because the alcohol use disorder they’re dealing with is mild or doesn’t affect their lives to an uncomfortable degree. However, if they observe more than a few of the following criteria for alcohol addiction diagnosis in their children, they should seek professional help:
- Alcohol cravings
- Dangerous alcohol use
- Desire to quit drinking but unable
- Lack of a sense of responsibility
- Lack of control
- Loss of interest in their hobbies or schoolwork
Learn About Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge Today
Are you searching for alcohol addiction treatment programs in Pennsylvania? Contact Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge today by calling 844.442.8673 or reaching out to our team online.