Drug Use And The Factors That Influence A Future Drug Addiction

1005 WordsMay 5, 20175 Pages
This paper explores various ways adolescent brain is susceptible to risky behaviors such as drug use and the factors that influence a future drug addiction. Adolescence is a time of growth both physically and mentally as well as emotionally. Risky behaviors, such as drug use, are likely to appear during this time. It isn’t until early adulthood that the prefrontal cortex, the area of our brain responsible for logical thought and reasoning, is developed. Many underlying factors of substance abuse are well known, such as family dynamics, genetics and mental illness. Studies have shown that genetics influence a predisposition to addiction/alcoholism and influenced by family dynamics. Several studies have shown how integral a supportive family…show more content…
These behaviors are expected and as normative development continues risky behaviors are known to stop. This time period is critical as it is where drug use is initiated, often by peers or family members. Due to the many developmental changes during adolescence this is a sensitive period for negative consequences. Drug use during adolescence creates risks such as lowered cognitive development, personality changes, mental illness, changes in consciousness and motivation. It is during this period that drug experimentation can lead to a substance use disorder. Brain development and risky behavior As mentioned, decisions are often ruled by the “reward” center of the brain and lack the necessary maturation to think logically about consequences. As the brain matures during late adolescence, specifically the pre-frontal cortex, logic and reasoning begin to appear. The varying rates at which these areas develop explain stereotypical adolescent behavior. Behavior such as sensation seeking, impulsivity and risky behavior are noticeable during this period. According to Conrad & Nikolaou, “The early maturity in adolescent fronto-basal-ganglia/limbic circuitry is proposed to result in adolescent behavior being strongly driven by a heightened sensitivity to rewards and positive outcomes. Due to the late maturation of prefrontal control circuits, adequate control of these responses is compromised, and thus the propensity to risky behavior is increased.” (Conrad and Nikolaou,
Open Document