Alcohol is not thought of as dangerous in our society because it is legal and accessible for adults and it’s heavily promoted on TV, especially during sports programming. Unfortunately, however, alcohol can be very damaging to the human body, especially the brain, which can impair basic motor skills, resulting in slurred speech. Heavy alcohol consumption over many years can cause permanent brain damage, leading to memory loss and other disabilities.
One of the dangers of drinking too heavily at a party is blackout, in which the drinker awakes the next morning not remembering the party or how he or she ended the night. About half of college students say they have had this experience, many of which later found out they had participated in dangerous activities while under the influence of alcohol, such as driving or having unprotected sex. Women tend to have blackouts more easily than men. Some of the consequences associated with blackouts can be nerve damage and brain shrinkage.
A serious brain disorder that can result from alcoholism is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS), which can be triggered by a thiamine deficiency. The symptoms of this condition include problems with thinking clearly, muscle coordination and paralysis from nerves involved with eye movement. This disorder can ultimately lead to psychosis and memory loss, which can impair walking and talking. Results vary, however, among individuals.
A recent study published by Hollis Karoly in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that aerobic exercise may improve nerve damage in the brain caused by alcohol consumption, although the results of this new area of study are inconclusive. Nevertheless, exercise still has other health benefits. The study tested sixty adults and found that the adults who drank heavily but exercised regularly had less white matter damage than adults who drank heavily but did not exercise.
Adolescents with a drinking problem will not listen to anyone. The heavier their addiction, the less likely they are to admit it. They don’t show for warning programs or the drunk driving displays at school. If they do, they stand at the back and grumble to each other.
Addicted teenagers excuse binge drinking and party drinking. They have a thousands ways of passing their peer pressure buck. Does this sound like you?
There are resources for young people who struggle to keep to a positive path. There are ways they can integrate their perceived needs for chemical solutions and their need to live a positive, healthy, personally fulfilling lives.
An insidious thing about addiction is the complex ways in which you are kept blind to the problem. Solutions begin with your ability to identify your problem – and its depth.
There are signs that reasonable teens can recognize in themselves – or those around them. Such teens are likely to:
- Promise to stop or slow the drinking, but they don’t.
- Hurt themselves or other people while or after drinking.
- Become depressed or anxious about drinking.
- Blacked out after drinking but still drink.
- Lose time from school or work, sick as a result of drinking.
- Fight more with or without drinking.
- Commit crimes or be arrested as a result of drinking.
- Lose a job, a relationship, or important personal goal, such as college admission or sports victory.
Young people – young men and woman – need support when they show one or more of these signs. They need a program that nurtures with modern therapies – including 12-step philosophies – plus pro-recovery nutrition. Such a program should:
- Reduce or eliminate cravings
- Restore clear thinking
- Reduce or eliminate anxiety
- Restore sleep
- Relieve depression
Creating a sense of positive and confident change begins with a healthy chemically-balanced brain.The refreshed brain is ready for support and experience in a healthy new way. No teen is so lost to addiction that s/he cannot change, letting go of negative personal beliefs and creating a better life for him or herself.
Integrative outpatient recovery programs bring all the components of recovery to work together, forming a comprehensive program of healing and authentic personal recovery.