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46 MARCH APRIL 2016 that may be caused says Chaiken. This can include injuries that might occur even when driving is not in play. For example if a minor slips and falls or suffers alcohol poisoningorifanintoxicatedteenwanders off and gets injured etc There have been numerous serious cases resulting in significant civil liability where adults provide alcohol to minors or should have known that alcohol was being consumed by minors on their premises. Should parents absolutely ban their teens from using alcohol and tell them why they need to abstain from drinking until their brain is fully developed In general the teenage brain is not ready to process alcohol saysStacieAllphinDirectorofAdolescentServicesatMemorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston also with locations in Dallas and Austin. She says that alcohol and drugs attackthereptilianpartofthebrainthefirstpartthatdevelops as a babywhere automatic responses are such as breathing or blinking of the eyes. Its where the pleasure pathway is says Allphin. If there is addiction thats where its happening. She adds that the last part of the adolescent brain to develop is the frontal lobe where judgment reasoning decision-making and abstract thinking are created. Alcohol puts the frontal lobe to sleep first and because its underdeveloped it happens quicker in a teen. If teens drink enough to affect the reptilian part thats when alcohol poisoning or blackouts occur. As a parent you have to consider all the facts. How will you know if your child will reach their full potential if you allow them to start drinking before their brain reaches full maturation The bottom line Talk to your teens about the dangers of drinking and partner with them by not providing alcohol or allowing them to attend a party where alcohol is served. Remind your teen that prom can still be a fun and memorable evening when its enjoyed alcohol free. What DrivesTeens to Drink Underlying Causes and Effects Teens start drinking for many different reasons says Fiona Ray Licensed Marriage and FamilyTherapist LMFT and Clinical Director Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers in Los Angeles and Malibu CA.Its a natural correlation to the phase of life theyre going through adolescence. Teens are trying on different identities perceptions and opinions to see how they fit into the world. Ray adds that drinking is a social lubricant it makes it easier to be in a group and reduces their inhibitions. Many kids dont know it will be an escape until they try it and then they realize its effect and they drink more. This is a time of experimentation and explorationnotes Ray.In addition to social anxiety drinking may also mask painorsadness. When teenage drinking occurs whetheritistomaskpainorsadnessor todissolvesocialangstitisimportanttodeterminewhyitishappening.Raysays ultimately the idea is to set aside the alcohol to get to the root of the problem. Alcohol is simply a symptom.But Ray points out before these symptoms occur itiscrucialthatparentsteachersandthecommunitystressavoidance.Education isthekeytopreventionandearlyinterventionshesays. Therearemanyreasonstodeterteensfromdrinkingbutthemostdevastating impact is to the teen brain. Ray says that no one really knows how alcohol mixes with an individuals chemistry. The adolescent brain is undergoing so many maturation processes the human brain does not mature until age 24-25 so its vulnerable specifically to the toxicity of alcohol. She adds that alcohol use in teenage boys negatively affects their attention span and in girls alcohol negativelyaffectstheabilitytocomprehendandinterpretvisualinformationsuch asclasspresentations. This is a time of experimentation and exploration. In addition to social anxiety drinking may also mask pain or sadness. - Fiona Ray Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist LMFT and Clinical Director Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers continued from page 45 Allowing teens to drink in your home thinking that its a safe way to keep them off the roads can lead you down the road of liability. Parents can be sued even if they were not aware that drinking was going on in their home. -Robert Chaiken Attorney Chaiken Chaiken Resources Robert Chaiken 214.265.0250 Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center Houston 713.704.4000 Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers in Los Angeles and Malibu CA 866.889.3665