More than half of 16-year-olds in the United States have tried alcohol. While many of them learn to drink responsibly, some go on to binge on alcohol, putting themselves at risk for trouble as adults. Researchers still aren’t sure why that is.
But it may be possible to predict with about 70 percent accuracy which teens will become binge drinkers, based on their genetics, brain function, personality traits and history, according to a study published Wednesday in Nature.
And as prediction tools get better, the researchers say, we’ll be better able to warn and help those who are most at risk.
“It’s sort of a deep mystery — why do some people become addicted and others don’t,” says Hugh Garavan, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and the study’s senior author.