Tag Archives: brain

Wellness Environment: Living Drug and Alcohol Free

wellness environmentBinge drinking and drug use have long accompanied the college experience for many students. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that 1,825 college students lose their life every year from alcohol-related injuries. While it may seem like an inevitability that college students will use mind altering substances from time to time, there is nothing safe about the behavior and it can lead to serious harm for some. Scientist have also been able to prove that the brain of a teenager or young adult in their early twenties is not fully developed, and drugs can have a lasting effect on the brain. Preventing substance misuse and abuse is, naturally, a top priority among all institutions of higher learning. However, some universities are taking novel approaches to substance use prevention.

Wellness Environment

The University of Vermont offers what is known as the Wellness Environment which involves 120 freshman living in a substance-free dorm and taking the course “Healthy Brains, Healthy Bodies," NBC News reports. The program is rooted in four areas of health, which include:
  • Exercise
  • Mentorship
  • Mindfulness
  • Nutrition
"It's about behavior change," said program founder, Dr. James Hudziak, chief of child psychiatry at the College of Medicine and the UVM Medical Center."When armed with science, young people can make better decisions," he told NBC News.

Health Promoting Tools

The students who were accepted into the Wellness Environment are given tools that help them live healthier lives, according to the article. The perks include: a free Fitbit, gym pass, yoga classes and nutrition coaches. Dr, Hudziak’s class starts with meditation and then he teaches his students about the benefits, based on current research, of living a life free from drugs and alcohol. Hudziak points out that the human brain is not fully developed until the mid to late twenties, exposing underdeveloped brains to mind altering substances can have disastrous outcomes.
"The brain of a 27-year-old is like a beautifully painted new house," said Hudziak. "But at 17 to 23 or older, it will be months before the electricity and plumbing is up. It's a house under construction."

Recovery Is Possible

If you are a young adult whose alcohol or drug use has become problematic, please reach out to PACE Recovery Center. Our experienced staff specializes in young adult male addiction recovery. We can help you develop the tools necessary for living a sober, healthy life.

Binge Drinking Has Lasting Effects

addictionThe effort to understand the effects drug and alcohol use has on the brain during developmental years continues. When teenage drinking is talked about, the words “binge drinking” often arise, that is, consuming five or more alcoholic beverages (male), or four or more drinks (female), over a 2-hour period. The practice is quite common among teenagers who are trying to consume as much alcohol as they can - in the limited time they have. Binge drinking has been associated with a number of health problems, including alcohol poisonings and the potential for addictive behaviors to develop. New research suggests that teens that binge drink may experience changes in the brain that last into adulthood, The Los Angeles Times reports. Researchers found that repeated exposure to alcohol throughout one’s formative years may cause long-lasting changes in the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning. “In the eyes of the law, once people reach the age of 18, they are considered adult, but the brain continues to mature and refine all the way into the mid-20s,” lead author Mary-Louise Risher of Duke University said in a news release. “It’s important for young people to know that when they drink heavily during this period of development, there could be changes occurring that have a lasting impact on memory and other cognitive functions.” The brains of teenagers and young adults are still developing, according to researchers, and are uniquely sensitive to levels of alcohol consistent with binge drinking, the article reports. Using rats, the researchers found that those who regularly consumed alcohol while their brain was developing had problems with:
  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Judgment
  • Learning Ability
"It's quite possible that alcohol disrupts the maturation process, which can affect these cognitive function later on," said Risher. The findings appear in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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