There is building evidence that drinking alcohol is harmful to the developing brain, particularly to the area of the brain that is responsible for rational thinking. Damage to this part of the brain during its development can lead to learning difficulties, memory problems, and the risk of mental health problems. There may be an association with other problems later in life such as alcohol dependence.1
Concerns about the risks of alcohol for young people, including the potential impact on brain development, led to National Health and Medical Research recommending:
For young people under 18 years of age, no alcohol is the safest choice. Delaying drinking alcohol as long as possible is also recommended.2
1 Hingson R, Heeren T, Winter M. Age of Alcohol-Dependence Onset: Associations with Severity of Dependence and Seeking Treatment. Pediatrics 2006; 118(3):755-763.
2 National Health and Medical Research Council.(2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol: Commonwealth of Australia
Call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024 toll free for country callers.
For emergencies call the 000 emergency line.