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Friday, November 9, 2012

Brain Development and Binge Drinking

Here's another dire warning about the effects of heavy/binge drinking on brain development:

(With much appreciation to one of our readers for the tip... keep 'em coming!)

Here's where we should be getting really concerned:

It found irreversibly altered the brain, keeping it in an adolescent state.
And the earlier in life someone starts bingeing, the worse the possible outcomes.
"Because it inhibits part of the brain's development, binge drinking over time keeps people in an emotionally immature state," Queensland University of Technology Professor Selena Bartlett says.
"This often leads to huge problems when in their 30s and 40s when people come face to face with the demands of life."

What are we talking about here?

Well, the study seems to indicate the possibility of permanent damage to the brain because of drinking, one that is 'subtle' and characterized by emotion problems rather than, let's say, a catastrophic loss of function.

When does this binge drinking occur for many young people?  College (at least in the US).  

We need to ask ourselves some tough questions: most colleges 'tolerate' partying and alcohol consumption.  It is an 'acceptable' activity on most campuses... but are institutions of higher learning turning out students with stunted emotional growth?

This study points in that direction.  During the last phases of emotional development, alcohol is introduced and deadens the process.

There has been an explosion of what I call 'perma-teens'... men and women in their 30s and 40s who have emotional problems we used to only associate with adolescents.  Men like Chris Farley, Russell Brand, and Adam Sandler have made reputations for portraying characters in modern entertainment which glamorize this state of being 'stunted.'

While the bodies of children have been going through puberty as younger and younger age, the reverse is true about passing into adulthood.  Our politics have embraced this idea that 'adult children' should stay on their parents' medical benefits until 25 years of age... where a generation ago such a person would have been married and had kids.

Is binge drinking part of this?

We need to look more closely at society and see if this is part of what is happening to our community.

In my next post, I'll discuss the religious and spiritual ramifications of this 'arrested development.'

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