The Teen Brain Explained

What every parent should know about alcohol and the developing teenage brain.

One in six teens binge drinks.

One in one hundred parents thinks their teen binge drinks.

people are killed each year by teen alcohol use


the average age the brain is fully developed


the average age Dawson youth begin drinking


Alcohol and the Teen Brain

Though adults may drink more frequently than teens, teens that consume alcohol tend to drink larger quantities than adults. There is evidence to suggest that the adolescent brain responds to alcohol differently than the adult brain, perhaps helping to explain the elevated risk of binge drinking in youth. Drinking at a young age, and intense drinking, are both risk factors for alcohol dependence later. Findings on the developing brain should help clarify the role of the changing brain in youthful drinking, and the relationship between youth drinking and the risk of addiction later in life.


The Teen Brain is Still Developing

The parts of the teen brain involved in emotional responses are fully online, or even more active than in adults, while the parts of the brain involved in keeping emotional, impulsive responses in check are still reaching maturity. Such a changing balance might provide clues to a youthful appetite for novelty, and a tendency to act on impulse—without regard for risk. While much is being learned about the teen brain, it is not yet possible to know to what extent a particular behavior or ability is the result of a feature of brain structure—or a change in brain structure.


Alcohol is the #1 substance abuse choice for teens

Teens are more likely to take risks when other teens are around

It takes higher doses of risk for teens to feel the same rush an adult feels

Teens need 9-10 hours of sleep per night

Hormonal changes cause newly intense fits of rage, fear and aggression in teens

Teens need parents to be good role models

Alcohol kills more than every drug combined

Sticking together for substance abuse prevention.