Early Heavy Drinking May Alter Brain Development

From Psychiatric News Alert: Differences in brain development are apparent in the brain scans of individuals who began drinking heavily during adolescence, writes Lindsay Squeglia, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Heavy-drinking adolescents showed accelerated gray matter volume reductions in the neocortex and smaller increases in white matter volumes in some structures compared with the nondrinkers, which Squeglia suggested may possibly “contribute to short-term or long-term negative effcts on cognitive, social, and academic functioning.

Causality cannot be determined from this study, she concluded. However, “[t]hese results provide a call for caution regarding heavy alcohol use during adolescence, whether heavy alcohol drinking is the cause or one of many factors in a constellation of causes of these alterations in brain development.”

For more information about adolescents and alcohol, see the Psychiatric News article “Teen Alcohol, Tobacco Use Down, E-cigarette Use Up.”

Happy 4th of July

Nikki Zalewski DPC

Today we celebrate our country’s independence and the idea of a more perfect union—one founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and perhaps some fireworks and barbecue).

From the beginning our country has fought for that idea and NAMI continues that tradition by fighting for a country where your mental health does not define your right to recovery, quality of life and independence.

35yearsNAMI fights for equal access to treatment, better services and better care. We fight for understanding, employment and housing. We fight so mental illness is not a prison sentence. We fight so our children don’t have to experience mental illness alone and can have the same hope for their future that millions of others have had.

1 in 5 Americans live with mental illness. Everyone is affected and we fight for all of us. Will you make a gift today and join us in our fight?