Teenagers who binge drink risk trapping their brains in permanent adolescence and lay the groundwork for alcoholism, new research shows.
A new study has looked at the effect of excessive binge drinking during adolescence on a particular receptor in the brain. Bing drinking was found to irreversibly alter the brain, keeping it in an adolescent state. And the earlier in life someone starts bingeing, the worse the possible outcomes.
"Because it inhibits part of the brain's development, binge drinking over time keeps people in an emotionally immature state," Queensland University of Technology Professor Selena Bartlett says. "This often leads to huge problems when in their 30s and 40s when people come face to face with the demands of life."
Professor Bartlett says the human brain doesn't fully develop until around age 25 and bingeing during adolescence modifies its circuits, preventing the brain from reaching maturity.
The research, which was carried out on rats, suggests that during ageing, the brain's delta opioid peptide receptor (DOP-R) activity turns down, but binge drinking causes the receptors to stay on, keeping it in an adolescent stage.
"The younger a child or teenager starts binge drinking and the more they drink, the worse the possible outcome for them," said Bartlett.
The research was published in The Journal of Neuroscience.
Source: Brisbane Times