Tags: Global Warming Research Paper ExampleRemember The Titans Essay On FriendshipAnorexia Research PaperApplication Letter For Civil Engineering InternshipWorld Studies Extended Essay VideoFree Critical Thinking GamesUva Wise Application EssayEye Of The Storm Jane Elliott Essay
If the experience is repeated, the brain reinforces the neural links between pleasure and drug-taking, making the association stronger and stronger.
Adolescents are “biologically wired” to seek new experiences and take risks, as well as to carve out their own identity.
Trying drugs may fulfill all of these normal developmental drives, but in an unhealthy way that can have very serious long-term consequences.
The adolescent brain is often likened to a car with a fully functioning gas pedal (the reward system) but weak brakes (the prefrontal cortex).
Teenagers are highly motivated to pursue pleasurable rewards and avoid pain, but their judgment and decision-making skills are still limited.
This affects their ability to weigh risks accurately and make sound decisions, including decisions about using drugs.
For these reasons, adolescents are a major target for prevention messages promoting healthy, drug-free behavior and giving young people encouragement and skills to avoid the temptations of experimenting with drugs.The majority of those who have a substance use disorder started using before age 18 and developed their disorder by age 20.The likelihood of developing a substance use disorder is greatest for those who begin use in their early teens.The teenage years are a critical window of vulnerability to substance use disorders, because the brain is still developing and malleable (a property known as neuroplasticity), and some brain areas are less mature than others.The parts of the brain that process feelings of reward and pain—crucial drivers of drug use—are the first to mature during childhood.By the time they are seniors, almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40 percent will have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose.There are many reasons adolescents use these substances, including the desire for new experiences, an attempt to deal with problems or perform better in school, and simple peer pressure.Finally, an adolescent’s inherited genetic vulnerability; personality traits like poor impulse control or a high need for excitement; mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD; and beliefs such as that drugs are “cool” or harmless make it more likely that an adolescent will use drugs.Images of Brain Development in Healthy Children and Teens (Ages 5-20) The brain continues to develop through early adulthood.Many factors influence whether an adolescent tries drugs, including the availability of drugs within the neighborhood, community, and school and whether the adolescent’s friends are using them.The family environment is also important: Violence, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, or drug use in the household increase the likelihood an adolescent will use drugs.