Monday, January 25, 2010

Really? I'm so shocked!

Sometimes headlines just make me laugh.


Teen Binge Drinking May Cause Brain Damage

(Jan. 25) -- Teen binge drinking may do more than just get you grounded. A recent study shows adolescent drinking can cause irreversible brain damage.

The study, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, found damaged nerve tissue in the brains of teens who drank. Researchers believe the damage translated to teens' test results, which showed shortened attention spans in boys, difficulty comprehending and interpreting visual information among girls and memory damage in both genders.

Although it may seem alarming that teen binge drinking could permanently affect the brain, the leader of the study, neuroscientist Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego, says alcohol is toxic for the still-developing teenage brain.
I'm glad they are promoting the message, but did we really need a neuroscientist to point out the obvious?

Here's a scary statistic:

By the time they graduate from high school, two-thirds (66%) of youth are regular drinkers, and two-fifths (40%) are frequent binge drinkers

A national survey reveals that 42% of college students reported binge drinking.


This is one of the many reasons that I am not too impressed by complaints about students fees and increasing tuition costs. Many students spend more on drinking than they do on books.

As a side note, binge drinking among homeschoolers and adults who were homeschooled is incredibly low. (I can't find my copy of Home Educated and Now Adults to give the exact number, but I remember that is was a single digit below 4%.)

Yet another reason to homeschool. We are protecting our children's developing brains.

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11 comments:

Jean said...

Goodness, how is that a surprise? Holy cow.

jensmiles said...

Great site btw. Been a quiet reader for awhile now. The headline is hilarious, but the truth of the situation is disheartening. My father sat me down at 6th grade and explained that his father was an alchoholic and how that meant I was at greater risk than my friends. Never did touch the stuff until I was 21 and rarely since then. All it takes is a simple talk every now and then.

Sleep-Deprived said...

You're right it's single digit - I had my book handy - it's on p. 54 and shows 3.3%

christinemm said...

High five for the title. LOL.

The sad thing is you have to ask what these binge drinkers are running away from? If their lives are so good why do this to themselves?

After a couple of mistakes in my teens I learned some lessons. The weird thing is these binge drinkers with bad experiences, making fools of themselves and all kinds of other stuff, why do they keep repeating it over and over? Makes no sense to me.

Janine Cate said...

Jean,
> Holy cow.

Indeed.



Jensmiles,

I've had a similar talk with my kids. Henry and I both have alcohol issues in our family tree.



Sleep Deprived,

Thanks for the reference info.


Christinemm,
I don't get the drinking thing either, but I suspect that it is a complex issue. The numbers are just staggering.

I really hate it when a movie or book makes being drunk look acceptable, fun, romantic or cute.

Crimson Wife said...

I was in a sorority in college and my DH was in a fraternity. Maybe it's just bias since alcohol was our substance of choice in college, but the folks we knew who were heavy drinkers all turned out okay. The ones who smoked pot were the ones who seemed to have permanent negative effects. Of the two, I'd be MUCH more worried about my teen using pot than drinking. Not that I'd want them to drink at all during high school or binge drink in college. But once they're adults, I don't really have a problem with moderate drinking. I strongly believe the legal drinking age ought to be 19 rather than 21.

Crimson Wife said...

Oh, and in case I came off sounding like a total lush in my last comment, these days I have MAYBE 1 drink a week. And DH these days only drinks maybe once every 4-6 weeks.

gfcfmomofmany said...

haha And how much money did this gem cost? Let's see toxic poison in the form of alcohol dumped into any person causes...damage. There do I get the study money now? lol
I remember tasting alcohol in middle school with a group of us that were Latchkey kids. Not proud but at the time I was young and angry at being alone. I think the time and being there for our kids is one of the best things we do as homeschooling moms!
God bless
Heather Laurie
www.specialneedshomeschooling.com

Janine Cate said...

Crimson Wife,

Drinking in college is a strange thing. Most young drinkers aren't having a glass of wine with dinner, but are drinking for the sole purpose of getting a buzz. It is just a hop, skip and a jump from there to drunk and stupid.

The problem with "they turned out ok" is that we have no way of knowing what potential they lost.

It is estimated that alcohol is the leading cause of retardation (lowered IQ). Even if an individual starts at an IQ of 130 and falls to an IQ 125, he has still lost something.

I admit that I'm biased here. I'm raising a child whose disabilities are most likely the result of alcohol consumption by his birth mother. She wasn't a drunk either. She just liked to party on the weekends.


>Oh, and in case I came off sounding like a total lush in my last comment, these days I have MAYBE 1 drink a week.

Thanks for the clarification. After the first comment, I thought, "Wow, I'm so surprised. They sound like big drinkers." :)

Janine Cate said...

gfcfmomofmany,

>I remember tasting alcohol in middle school with a group of us that were Latchkey kids. Not proud but at the time I was young and angry at being alone. I think the time and being there for our kids is one of the best things we do as homeschooling moms!

Probably a lot of Latchkey Kids get started in the same way. Being there for our kids is the best antidote for a lot of problems.

lifeisagift said...

I agree not shocked I don't think we need a scientist to tell us this. But drinking is a real problem especially when it is children and a teen is a child!

I have never been a drinker although I did once as a teen becuse that is what my friends were doing. Is is just not healthy for anyone on a regular basis.

Thanks for the info!