Monday, August 11, 2014

The Influence of Substance Abuse on the Adolescent Brain

Many children and adolescents are exposed to substances that affect their mental health. The Clinical Neuroscience Society has asserted that “substance use during adolescence has been associated with alterations in brain structure, function, and neurocognition” (Squeglia, J. Jacobus, and S. F. Tapert 2009). During the child and adolescent years, the brain is not fully developed. Therefore, use of alcohol and drugs slow the process of their brain development. New research has shown that the brain is fully matured at twenty-five (Young Adult Development  Project). According to the Young Adult Development Project, during “early- and mid-adolescence, the brain undergoes considerable growth and pruning, moving generally from back to front areas of the cerebral cortex.”
A study by Squeglia, J. Jacobus, and S. F. Tapert was published about influence of substance use on adolescent brain development. Squeglia, J. Jacobus, and S. F. Tapert conducted research by looking at participants who did not use substances and participants who did use substances. Squeglia, J. Jacobus, and S. F. Tapert discovered that adolescent use of substances affected their memory and slowed their ability to process information. Adolescents that used alcohol and drugs performed poorly in academics. This strongly reduced white matter microstructural integrity.

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Natalie Frandsen,
Governmental Affairs
GAACS Accreditation

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