Underage drinking isn’t just illegal. Teens and ‘tweens who drink heavily may also be risking permanent brain damage! According to the London Daily Mail, alcohol causes significant memory loss in young people. Studies show that drinking to excess – in other words, consuming the equivalent of 1 bottle of hard liquor a week - interferes with a critical stage in the development of young brains. Basically, it limits their ability to create short-term and long-term memories. And those same memory problems could affect teenage drinkers even as adults.
Researchers at Northumbria University asked heavy drinkers and tea-totalers how often they forgot things they needed to do – or planned to do. The result? The heavy drinkers were much more forgetful about plans for the future. And they found it especially hard to remember to carry out simple, immediate tasks, like locking the door, or mailing a letter. But alcohol isn’t the only thing that’s hurting young people’s brains. Smoking is a big problem, too. Another study followed youngsters who smoked – and those who didn’t. The upshot was:
Those who smoked two packs of cigarettes a week had problems remembering more-distant events, like meeting a friend the following week, like they planned. The fact is, scientists have known for a long time that smoking and drinking affect a teenagers' ability to remember past events. But this is the first time they’ve been shown to it also makes it harder for them to remember future ones.