Monday, April 11, 2011

Binge drinking

The Partnership For a Drug Free America reports that 62% of teens have had their first alcoholic beverage by age 15. Teens view alcohol as a “right of passage” into adulthood. Many equate drinking to being “cool” and safer than drugs. Early drinkers have a tendency to have problems with alcohol later on in life.

For some teens, binge drinking seems like harmless fun. They perceive alcohol as having only temporary consequences such as hangovers. Binge drinking is categorized for girls as having 4 or more drinks in one evening, 5 for boys, two or more times per month.

Studies of brain scans reveal that binge drinkers have significantly less white matter than non-drinkers. White matter affects cognitive functions and it is unknown at this time whether this reduction is permanent or not.

While teens may be as tall as us, their brains and bodies are still growing. As parents we find it difficult to get our teens to sit down and talk with us without it sounding like a lecture. Many parents also want to be their child’s friend and be considered cool. Remember that being a parent sometimes means tough love. While your teen may not appreciate your rules and guidance right now they will come to appreciate you when they become mature adults. Being a parent is hard but you aren’t alone. Your pediatrician is here to help you through your child’s life stages.

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