Is there a connection between the developmental phase of the adolescent brain and the development of substance dependence? Could something that happened during a person’s childhood lead to a substance abuse problem in their adulthood? In a word, yes. And there’s a direct connection between understanding the adolescent brain and developing strategies of prevention of substance abuse. During the adolescent years, several new developments occur. Younger individuals, specifically those who are in their adolescent years, often experience an extreme amount of changes and developments. And, during this period of growth, the brain is especially susceptible to experiencing things such as mental health disorders and issues like depression or anxiety. Many of the experiences people have during this period will affect them for many years to come. This is why it’s so important to focus on the ways in which the adolescent brain can lead to substance dependence.
Connecting Adolescence and Substance Dependence
Many things can happen throughout the adolescent years. During this particular period of life, individuals often deal with negative emotions which frequently affects their behaviors. During adolescence, the brain experiences many changes in behavioral patterns. Perhaps, you went through a period of risky and questionable behavior in your youth. Believe it or not, this period of risk-taking and uncharacteristic actions is common. This is because it’s caused by the changes that are taking place within the brain. As these changes occur, the individual will experience shifts in their emotional and mental processes. This developmental period also affects people’s social behaviors and can result in early exposure to drugs and alcohol.
The brain functions differently in this phase than it does during any other time of life. So, it’s certainly important to focus on the changes that occur during the adolescent years. Again, things like anxiety and depression are, sadly, not strangers to people within this age group. Many individuals also experience traumatic situations during their youth. These events can make people more likely to develop a substance abuse problem later in life. In fact, there is often a direct connection between trauma and alcohol dependence.
Research concerning adolescent brain development and drug or alcohol dependence is becoming more and more prevalent. Advancements are being made in this area as researches are helping to uncover early signs of mental illness. Substance dependence, which one type of mental health issue, is often a result of negative situations that happened while the individual was going through adolescent development. This is why prevention of substance abuse is an important matter.
Prevention of Substance Abuse
As researchers make progress in understanding how the adolescent brain can show early signs of mental health issues, including a potential substance abuse problem, they are also working on ways to prevent these issues. Mental health is a serious topic and it’s important to work towards better prevention of substance abuse. As more signs are being discovered, researchers are also uncovering ways to help the youth avoid drug and alcohol abuse. Not only are they working to help prevent teen substance abuse, but they are also working to intervene and prevent these issues from surfacing in the adult years.
There are, however, some cases in which adolescent problems result in adulthood substance dependence. In fact, this is the case for many adults who are currently suffering from a substance abuse problem. Thankfully, treatment can help solve that issue. Professional detox and treatment processes can help individuals overcome drug and alcohol abuse for good. And, here at Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services, we work to providing hope to each of our clients. If you or someone you know is dealing with a substance abuse problem, please contact us today by calling (925) 289-1430.