Health Latest News

Binge Drinking and Adult Anxiety

images (3)Binge drinking, also defined as bouts of heavy drinking, should be avoided at all costs. It exposes an individual to a number of health issues: hypertension, weight-gain and type 2 diabetes. But while these might be more common to adults, the consequences are far worse for teenagers.
According to a study published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, teenagers who indulge in binge drinking set themselves up for a whole lot of anxiety as an adult, trigger a few long-lasting behaviourial problems and could cause brain damage.
Subhash Pandey, a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago and lead author of the study said: “Intermittent alcohol exposure degrades the ability of the brain to form the connections it needs to during adolescence. The brain doesn’t develop as it should, and there are lasting behavioural changes associated with this.”In the study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, the researchers mimicked adolescent binge drinking in a population of rats, in order to see how the alcohol affected their brains. The rats, which were 28 days old, were given alcohol for two days in a row and then abstained for two days, alternating for nearly two weeks. Some of the rats in the study were observed into adulthood.The researchers discovered that the rats that binge drank when they were younger, preferred alcohol to water when they were older and displayed more anxiety-like behaviors compared to rats that didn’t drink. The researchers also noted epigenetic changes in the brains of the rats (changes to DNA caused by chemicals or environmental substances, like alcohol). The researchers believe that some of the rats’ behavior could be explained by these brain changes.Lab tests found that rats exposed to intermittent doses of doses of alcohol during the adolescent phase of their development were more likely to display symptoms like anxiety in later life.
They were also more attracted to drink as adults than other rats, the tests at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) found.The study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, found evidence that binge drinking effectively changed the shape of the DNA in the animals’ brains at a crucial stage of their development.Tissue analysis showed that the DNA was wrapped more tightly around proteins in those rats which had been exposed to binge drinking conditions as adolescents than in those which had not, as a result of chemical changes.Professor Subhash Pandey, of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, explained that binge drinking during the teenage years disrupts the brain’s normal development.He said: ‘Our study provides a mechanism for how binge-drinking during adolescence may lead to lasting changes that result in increased anxiety and alcoholism in adults.’Intermittent alcohol exposure ‘degrades the ability of the brain to form the connections it needs to during adolescence, he explained.