Alcoholism Linked to Drinking During Puberty, Says New Study

A new study from the University of Heidelberg has confirmed what other recent studies have shown: that people who have their first drink in puberty are more likely to suffer from alcoholism later in life. The other two studies, one by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the other by the University of Florida may be disappointing to parents who have been allowing their teens to drink alcohol at home thinking that they were safer than drinking at a party or with friends.

In the study from Heidelberg, not only were the teens more likely to become alcoholic, but they were also likely to drink more alcohol in one occasion and to drink more frequently. In this study:

  • 283 adults participated
  • study participants were followed for a four-year period at ages 19, 22 and 23.

“Puberty is a phase in which the brain reward system undergoes major functional changes,” Rainer Spanagel, one of the study’s leading authors, said in a statement. “Therefore, during puberty the brain is in a highly vulnerable state for any kind of reward, and drug rewards in particular.”

The study from the University of Florida, published in 2012, gave us a few more interesting facts, including that alcohol, not marijuana, is actually a gateway drug. College students who used alcohol were 16 times more likely or try hard drugs later in life. The study from the CDC found that the most commonly used and abused drug for people under 21 years, even above tobacco and pot is alcohol:

  • 39% of high school students drink some alcohol in a 30 day period
  • 22% of high school students binge drink regularly
  • 8% of those student drive after drinking
  • College students consume an average of 9 drinks per occasion.

“Priority health-risk behaviors, which are behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among youth and adults, often are established during childhood and adolescence, extend into adulthood, and are interrelated and preventable,” the CDC survey reports.

When you recognize harmful patterns and seek treatment, you can increase your chances of leading a healthier life. Cliffside Malibu is here to support you in your search for an alcohol-free life. We believe you deserve to have a private, comfortable and luxurious environment as you navigate your journey to a sober life. Our center allows you to explore your mental health needs, creates a treatment plan that is unique to you and allows you to discover beneficial coping skills. To learn more about alcohol treatment at Cliffside Malibu, call (855) 403-5641.