There are many common misconceptions about underage drinking, like “everybody does it,” and “it’s OK as long as I don’t drive.” But the fact is, that’s just not true.
Teen drug and alcohol abuse can be especially unhealthy. During your teen years, your brain is still developing, which means you are extra vulnerable to the damage that drugs and alcohol can cause. The symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse are the direct result of the damage that drinking can cause.
Decision-making in teens involves a chemical called dopamine in the brain’s reward center. Dopamine helps transmit signals in the brain that make people feel happy. The number of brain receptors interacting with dopamine is higher in adolescence than at any other time of life. That means that when a teen is exposed to a reward—such as a compliment—the reward center reacts more strongly than it would for an adult.