How drug and alcohol use impacts teen brain development

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How drug and alcohol use impacts teen brain development

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It is particularly dangerous to use alcohol or drugs under the age of 18 because this is a period of adolescent brain development. Between the ages of about 15 and 25, the brain changes starting from the inside and moving around the back and to the front. In the inside is where pain and pleasure are felt. These are the two main reasons why people use drug either to achieve pleasure or to avoid pain psychological or physical. As it moves along towards the back, you get more movement, coordination, sensation seeking. You start getting out and seeking more social stimuli. And the last thing that it gets to only as they age further is brain development related to decision making and the ability to connect cause and consequence. So suddenly just as they become more susceptible to pain and pleasure, they are also more out and about and being exposed to other people, persons, places and things. And they do not have the judgment yet that allows them to discern what they should and should not do. Therefore, when people start using alcohol and drugs under the age of 15, they are two to six times more likely to go on and become addicted than if they start over the age of 18.

See Michael Dennis, PhD's video on How drug and alcohol use impacts teen brain development...

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Michael Dennis, PhD

Psychologist

Michael Dennis, PhD, is a senior research psychologist and Director of the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) coordinating center at Chestnut Health Systems in Normal, Illinois. Over the past 25 years his primary area of research has been to better understand and manage addiction and recovery over the life course. This includes multiple clinical trials to compare the effectiveness of adolescent treatment approaches and recovery support services, longitudinal studies with adolescents, adults and older adults to understand the predictors of entering and sustaining recovery, and creating the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) coordinating center for teaching evidenced based assessment to support clinical decision making at the individual level and program evaluation. He has multiple awards for moving the field from science to practice, promoting diversity through practice based evidence and bringing more people into the field.

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