Binge drinking

Our research aims to understand the impact of binge drinking on the brain, particularly in young adults.

Binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks for a man or four or more drinks for a woman on one occasion, has become a common and more extreme pattern of drinking among young Australians.

Recognising that adolescence is a critical period for brain development, we are conducting research into how excessive drinking affects the teenage brain. This research will be crucial to informing our alcohol licensing laws and public health advice.

Our research approaches

NeuRA is examining the differences in the development of adult behaviour and thought processes of young people who binge drink compared to those who are not drinking for the period of the research.

We are also studying the size of brain regions known to be affected by alcohol to see whether brain structure is altered by binge drinking.

Our research is based on questionnaires, cognitive testing and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Our research discoveries

We have found that significant binge drinking can cause significant changes in the brain chemistry of boys, causing it to become unbalanced. 

Compared to non-drinkers, our research showed binge drinkers had significantly slower responses and greater errors in tests of inhibition. They also had poorer recognition of emotions on faces.