They say children─ particularly your teens─ are the future, and as responsible Missourian parents, it’s up to you to guide them on the path to proper physical, mental, and emotional health. Part of this will entail steering them away from the likes of alcohol addiction with the help of a St. Louis alcohol rehab center, and for reasons beyond just avoiding dependency. An October 28, 2014 article for Science Daily describes the potential physical effects of heavy alcohol use in adolescents, as experimented on rats:
Heavy drinking during adolescence may lead to structural changes in the brain and memory deficits that persist into adulthood, according to an animal study published October 29 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The study found that, even as adults, rats given daily access to alcohol during adolescence had reduced levels of myelin — the fatty coating on nerve fibers that accelerates the transmission of electrical signals between neurons.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, including Heather Richardson, PhD, studied two groups of young male rats. For two weeks, one group was given sweetened water and the other was given alcohol. At the end of the study, it was found that the group that had been given alcohol displayed poor short-term memory retention skills─ even after they reached adulthood and the alcohol was no longer being administered.
Although the study’s bearings on humans have yet to truly be established, the fact remains that rats share many genetic and biological traits in common with humans; indeed, this is why they are used in many medical studies. Moreover, physical complications stemming from alcohol abuse in adolescence have been well-documented. These include cirrhosis of the liver (wherein the liver gradually ceases to function owing to the presence of scar tissue) and pancreatitis (wherein the pancreas is inflamed and digestive enzymes work on the pancreas instead of the small intestine).
What should you do if your teen is already showing signs of alcohol addiction? For one, you’ll want to stay calm. No teen likes to be nagged, and that’s why they’ll respond to you better if you’re in control of your emotions. You’ll also want to show respect and compassion, not anger; after all, you were a teenager yourself once and you should understand what they’re going through.
Lastly, you need to be ready to lend a helping hand. Through St. Louis, MO alcohol rehab centers like the Midwest Institute for Addiction, you can help your teenager abandon the bottle and turn things around. Be there for them every step of the way, and your child will be on his way to a bright future.
(Article and Image Excerpt from Heavy drinking in adolescence associated with lasting brain changes, animal study suggests, Daily Science, October 28, 2014)