Underage drinking has several severe and serious consequences. Numerous studies have been conducted about the effects of alcohol on young people and teenage drinking. There have been several studies that indicate that a person who begins drinking at an early age is more predisposed to risky behaviors, including alcoholism. A recent study from the National Institute of Health evaluated such factors as family history of alcoholism, smoking, childhood antisocial behavior, and drug use, to see what their effects on adult alcoholism would be. The results showed that all of these factors did increase the risk of long-term alcohol use and dependence. With all of these factors taken into consideration, the NIH still found that individuals who began drinking at an earlier age were significantly more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol, and that the dependence is more likely to be chronic and associated with long-term health problems. According to the study, 47% of people who began drinking before the age of 14 developed a dependence on alcohol. They also studied a group of people who began drinking at age 21 or older, and out of this group only 9% developed an alcohol issue. The NIH study also shows a significant amount of evidence that alcohol impairs structural and functional brain development during the adolescent years, and that alcohol affects an adolescent brain very differently than it does an adult brain (the adolescent brain is much more susceptible to damage from repeated alcohol exposure). If you know someone who is struggling with alcoholism, or a young person who you fear may become an alcoholic, Passages can help.