Experts agree that adolescence marks a critical period for brain development. New research shows that binge-drinking teens risk lasting brain changes that could affect their lives as adults.
Adolescents represent the majority of people who binge drink. This may come as a surprise to some, but recent surveys indicate that episodes of heavy alcohol drinking within the previous two weeks are reported by 12 percent of 8th graders, 22 percent of 10th graders, 28 percent of 12th grade seniors and 44 percent of college students.
Human adolescence, roughly between 12 to 20 years of age, marks a critical period for brain development. This is when the growth of the cortex, our gray matter, reaches a peak and is coupled with major rearrangements of neurons. Some guess that such brain remodeling during development help us adapt to life’s demands as we mature toward adulthood.