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Effects of Binge Drinking on the Developing Brain

Binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol drinking that raises a person’s blood alcohol concentration to at least .08%, which amounts to consuming five alcoholic drinks for men and four alcoholic drinks for women in about 2 hours. It is the most common form of alcohol misuse in adolescents and young adults. Heavy drinking includes the same criterion as binge drinking, but with higher frequency (i.e...

Alcohol and Cannabis Use and the Developing Brain

Introduction

Adolescence is marked by significant social, emotional, cognitive, and physical changes, as individuals transition from childhood to adulthood. Although the exact definition of adolescence tends to vary, recent findings regarding adolescent development and growth include individuals between the ages of 10 and 24.1 Consistent with this defined age range, the human brain continues to...

Recovery and Youth: An Integrative Review

Although rates of alcohol and other substance use disorders in adolescents have been estimated for decades, little is known about the prevalence, pathways, and predictors of remission and long-term recovery among adolescents. This article provides an integrative review of the literature on youth recovery. A final selection of 39 relevant articles was grouped into five sections: treatment outcomes...

NIH’s Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study)

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Adolescence is the stage of life during which most people begin using alcohol, and it is also a time of considerable social, psychological, and physiological change. The brain, particularly the frontal cortex, continues to develop throughout adolescence and does not fully mature until early adulthood. Adolescent alcohol exposure can impair brain development, compromise short- and long-term...

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Role of Medication in Recovery

Introduction

It is estimated that nearly 14.6 million Americans currently meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD)1 included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5),2 and approximately 88,000 die from alcohol-related causes in the United States each year.3 An older term, “alcohol dependence,” is equivalent to the DSM-5 criteria for...

Alcohol Use Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury

Alcohol use and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are inextricably and bidirectionally linked. Alcohol intoxication is one of the strongest predictors of TBI, and a substantial proportion of TBIs occur in intoxicated individuals. An inverse relationship is also emerging, such that TBI can serve as a risk factor for, or modulate the course of, alcohol use disorder (AUD). Critically, alcohol use after...

Forebrain-Midbrain Circuits and Peptides Involved in Hyperalgesia After Chronic Alcohol Exposure

Introduction

Chronic pain increases the risk for development of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Given that acute alcohol consumption can reduce pain, humans sometimes drink alcohol for relief of pain. Chronic alcohol consumption, however, can increase pain sensitivity during withdrawal and facilitate pain sensitization related to comorbid pain conditions.1 Ascending and descending nociceptive...

Binge Drinking’s Effects on the Developing Brain—Animal Models

Adolescence typically is a time of experimentation and emulation of adult behaviors, and many adolescents initiate alcohol and other drug (AOD) use during this developmental period. Brain development continues during adolescence, which could render the adolescent brain particularly vulnerable to alcohol’s effects. Consequently, adolescent alcohol exposure could result in long-lasting changes in...

Alcohol and Puberty: Mechanisms of Delayed Development

Adolescence represents a vulnerable period for developing youth. Alcohol use and misuse are especially problematic behaviors during this time. Adolescents are more sensitive to alcohol and less tolerant of its detrimental effects than are adults. Research in humans and animals has revealed that early alcohol consumption can result in delayed pubertal development. Animal studies have shown that...