Alcohol and the Teen Brain

The teen brain goes through a significant "wiring" period from the ages of 12-24. Research shows that alcohol use can harm this "wiring".

Alcohol acts like a computer virus in a teen brain that:

• Slows or shuts down brain activity

• Damages neuro-connections

• Negatively alters the brain’s pleasure-reward circuitry

• Decreases the ability to learn

• Hinders brain wiring that a teen needs to become a responsible, thoughtful adult.

SPECT images have shown that alcohol use affects the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus.

How to talk to your teen about alcohol:

Develop open and trusting communication. Open communication is your best form of protection when it comes to teen parenting.

  • Encourage conversation. Encourage your child to talk about whatever interests him or her.

  • Listen attentively, without interruption. Avoid interruptions like electronics, other siblings, etc. Maintain eye contact and use reflective listening skills.

  • Don’t judge. Be the student and let your teen be the teacher. Give your child a chance to teach you something new.

  • Ask open-ended questions. Encourage your teen to tell you how he or she thinks and feels about the issue you’re discussing. Avoid questions that have a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

  • Control your emotions. If you hear something you don’t like, try not to respond with anger. Instead, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge your feelings in a constructive way.

  • Don’t lecture. Make conversation a positive experience. If you show respect for your child’s viewpoint, he or she will be more likely to listen to and respect yours.

#teenalcoholuse #alcoholandthebrain #teenbrain

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