Heavy drinking leads to impulse control problems

By Staff Writer

It is well known that drinking alcohol increases impulsive behavior during periods of drunkenness. However, new researchers suggests that heavy drinking during adolescence may cause structural changes in the brain that make a person behave less predictably, even when they are not intoxicated.

Impulsive behavior can be blamed for a range of problems, including unplanned pregnancy, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, drug use and traffic accidents. These incidents often harm not only the person who is intoxicated, but others as well.

For the study, researchers from Rutgers University examined the effects that heavy drinking during adolescence, when the brain is still forming. After studying more than 500 boys from first grade through their 20th birthday, they found that individuals who consumed the most alcohol were the most likely to exhibit risky impulsive behavior.

Researchers said that the findings highlight the importance of using preventative measures, like substance abuse treatment, to help stop young people from drinking.