The Effects of Alcohol On a Teenage Mind

close up of male friends drinking and clinking beer bottles at home

The adolescent brain is not a mature one. There is a reason that teenagers behave the way that they do, and it is because their brains are still developing. In fact, the human brain continues to develop into the mid 20s. The changing brain affects all aspects of a teenager’s behavior, from emotional intelligence to good judgment.

Teenagers, due to their developing brains, cannot handle alcohol in the same way an adult can. Not only can teenagers not handle alcohol appropriately, but alcohol can have a very real impact on the brain itself. Here is how alcohol affects the different areas of the teenage brain.

Cerebral Cortex

The cerebral cortex takes information from a person’s senses and interprets it appropriately. Alcohol slows down this interpretation. This means that a teenager may see a person in the road, for instance, and fail to brake in time because the brain is not able to quickly take that vision and process it as a hazard.

Central Nervous System

When you want to do something like move your arm, you think of it and the brain and spinal cord send the information to move to that part of your body. This is true whether you want to walk, talk or swing your arms. When a teenager consumes alcohol, the central nervous system is depressed, making moving slower.

Frontal Lobes

The frontal lobes of the brain form ideas, help us control our behavior, plan and make decisions. All of these are affected when a person drinks alcohol. A teenager, especially, may become violent or act without thinking. Drinking alcohol on a consistent basis can damage the frontal lobes permanently.


Our memories are made in the hippocampus. When a teenager drinks alcohol, they may find it difficult to remember information they just learned. They may blackout and not be able to remember an entire chunk of time. With regularly drinking, a person may find it difficult to learn new information.

Because alcohol affects the brain in a negative way, particularly while it is still developing, teenage alcohol use is not recommended, never mind illegal. A teenager who uses alcohol is put at disadvantages that an adult may not be. A teen may find that they are unable to regulate their emotions, control their physical bodies appropriately or make poor choices they wouldn’t make otherwise.

If your teenager has been charged with driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, they will need to mount a strong defense in court. Call our team of experienced DUI attorneys for assistance. When you call, we will help you schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation and advise you and your child of the legal options available. Contact our office today for the help you need.