Alcohol and brain development in adolescents and young adults

Alcohol consumption poses risks. It can lead to accidents, violence and other transgressive behaviour, and many diseases and disorders. Alcohol is harmful, especially for young people. They become intoxicated more quickly than adults. Also, their brains are still developing.

The committee Alcohol and the brain of the Health Council of the Netherlands has evaluated what is known from the scientific literature about the influence of alcohol consumption on the brain of adolescents and young adults. There are indications that the structure of the brain develops abnormally in young people who drink alcohol.

The committee also concludes starting drinking at a young age is associated with a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder later in life. The more often they drink or the younger they start, the higher the risk.