Underage Drinking

Underage Drinking

In high school, as well as college, drinking is something that you may want to try.  Before you do, you should know and understand the effects that it can have on your body.  Underage drinking can cause premature liver damage, brain cell loss and damage, and can cause individuals to become dependent on the consumption of alcohol.  These are only a few of the health effects that underage drinking can cause.

As a teenager, your liver has not yet fully developed, and every drop of alcohol put into your body can damage it.  Every sip of alcohol inflames and irritates the liver, ultimately causing elevated liver enzymes.  “The liver is the organ responsible for removing toxins from our bodies and helping us digest our food. Through our day to day lives, we put our livers through a great deal of strain, so it takes a great deal of damage to the liver before symptoms begin to show. Elevated liver enzymes are a symptom of too much strain being put on the liver, and show a clear indication that changes need to be made”. Over time, with more and more strain, the liver will begin to shut down and stop removing the toxins from our body.  This organ is extremely important to our body so it needs to be treated with care.

During the adolecsent stage, the body is rapidly developing and changing, and new connections to the brain begin to form.  Exposing the brain to alcohol during this period may interrupt key processes of brain development, which could possibly lead to mild cognitive impairment. 

When the brain is introduced to alcohol, the learning proceeses within the body begin to slow down. The alcohol dependent youth will have greater difficulty remembering words and simple geometric designs after a 10 minute interval.  “Alcohol slows down the cerebral cortex as it works with information from a person’s senses.  When a person thinks of something he wants his body to do, the central nervous system the brain and the spinal cord sends a signal to that part of the body. Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, making the person think, speak, and move slower.  The brain’s frontal lobes are important for planning, forming ideas, making decisions, and using self-control”.

The consumption of alcohol has been proven to have lasting consequences on the body. Individuals who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence at some time in their lives; compared with those who have their first drink at age 20 or older.  Building up a tolerance to alcohol may seem to be the coolest thing to do, but down the road that tolerance can lead to alcoholism, caused be the over use of alcohol. “Both early drinking and alcoholism have been linked to personality characteristics such as strong tendencies to act impulsively and to seek out new experiences and sensations. Some evidence indicates that genetic factors may contribute to the relationship between early drinking and subsequent alcoholism. Environmental factors may also be involved, especially in alcoholic families, where children may start drinking earlier because of easier access to alcohol in the home, family acceptance of drinking, and lack of parental monitoring”.

Drinking has many negative health effects and almost nothing positive comes out of it. Theres no need to put your liver or brain in danger; not to mention the development of a disease, all for just a little but of “fun”? The best decison is to simply wait until you are of age to begin to consume alcohol. By this time, the brain is fully developed. Also, studies have shown that at this time individuals are more likely to be more responsible with handling alcohol products properly. Until then, don’t risk your future, and simply put the drink down.