New study suggests connection between teen alcohol use and risky behavior in adulthood

In an animal study, researchers have found evidence that alcohol consumption as an adolescent may be associated with long-term effects on risk taking and decision making and consequently, substance abuse problems as an adult, reports ScienceDaily.  

The results may help to explain the development of alcohol and drug addiction. According to study author Abigail Schindler, Ph.D., the younger you are when you first try alcohol, the more likely you are to have problems with drinking as an adult. What has been less clear is whether this is because of a natural tendency toward alcohol abuse or the effect of alcohol on the brain. Schindler’s research point towards the latter. 

With alcohol the most commonly abused drug among teens, the findings suggest that there may be benefits to early screening and intervention for alcohol use.

Schindler presented her findings this week during the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting. The study was funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.