From early adolescence through the mid-to-late 20s, the brain develops somewhat unevenly. The parts of the brain to develop first are those that control physical activity (cerebellum), emotion (amygdala) and motivation (nucleus accumbens). The prefrontal cortex, responsible for impulse control, more reasoned thought, and sound judgment develop later. So, you can see where this could pose a problem. Interestingly, this pattern of brain development helps explain some common traits of teen behavior such as difficulty holding back or controlling emotions, more risky and impulsive behaviors, inadequate planning, short-term rewards and limited judgment.
The teen brain continues to develop well into one’s 20s, and drinking has a significant negative effect on its development. Developing brains are more susceptible than the brains of adults to being damaged by outside influences. Meaning substance use during the teen years creates a more specific risk for immediate and lasting harm. We will look further into why this happens next week when we continue to explore the teen brain and its development and how we can help to stop addiction before it begins.
Please mark your calendars and join us for a public forum on Tuesday, June 7th, at the Winn Parish Library at 5:30 PM to discuss the problem of addiction in our area and how we, as a community, can make a difference. Please call Shonna Moss at 318-628-0169 to reserve your chair, as seating will be limited. Also, please watch for another article next week as we continue to explore more about the teen brain and its development.