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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Adolescent Brain Is Far From Maturity

The teenage years are ever so crucial, what we experience shapes us into what we will become as adults. One's environment during the teen years plays a huge role in brain development, how we are treated and what we undergo dictates how we handle things to come in the future. When unhealthy habits are adopted at a young age it becomes incredibly hard to escape them. As we dive into the future scientists uncover more and more about how our brain works and how introducing foreign substances like drugs and alcohol can hold people back for years to come - even after they stop abusing substances. According to Dr. Frances Jensen, a neuroscientist at Harvard, our brains do not finish developing until the mid twenties - Adolescent brains “are only about 80 percent of the way to maturity”.

Children and teenagers are great learners, they have the ability to pick up and understand things at a rate that adults could hardly keep up with. According to scientists, adolescents have an excess of gray matter in the brain, since gray matter does the processing work inside the brain it is easy for them to adopt bad habits - anything from sex to drugs. It is crucial that children and teenagers develop healthy relationships with their peers in order to remove the possibility of risky-behavior as much as possible.

Teenagers think they know everything, when actually they have the ability to know everything; meaning learning how to do things is easy, but, understanding why we do them is something that comes in the adult years. The use of drugs and alcohol clouds the mind, causing all kinds of misfiring inside the brain which after many years of use will severely impair one's ability to be a productive member of society. Parents need to work with their children to help them understand how crucial early brain development is to living a fulfilling life - one free from addiction.


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