While there are laws in place to stop teenage kids from drinking, many take a chance and a walk on the wild side while on vacation. Unfortunately, they often do that without realizing that they can be charged with a crime, lose their license or completely rewire their brains.
There are many long-term negative effects for teenagers who drink, particularly those who also drive.
Alcohol and the brain
Initially it may seem as if alcohol is a stimulant because many lose their inhibitions, but the truth is that it is a depressant. Because it depresses the section of the brain that is responsible for controlling inhibitions, many confuse it with a stimulant.
The teen brain is still in development until the mid-20s. Some researchers believe that any significant changes in brain development during this time may be permanent. This means it is not just a criminal record teens have to worry about when they are drinking underage but also their ability to function in the future.
Alcohol affects the central nervous system, cerebral cortex, frontal lobes, hippocampus, hypothalamus, medulla and cerebellum. Poor decision making, inability to regulate body temperature and heartbeat, and memory are affected when alcohol enters the teenage brain.
Is it worth it?
Drinking alcohol is often a rite of passage for teenagers, but they should always be aware of the consequences. A criminal record can affect their ability to get a job or a loan for college. Many make bad decisions while under the influence and have no idea how their brains will handle alcohol while they are still developing.
Any teen who determines it is worth the risk and finds his or herself in trouble with the law should speak to an attorney with experience in underage drinking immediately.