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 Most drug use starts and peaks during adolescence  76.5% of all teens (<18 years of age) try an addictive substance ◦ Alcohol 72% ◦ Cigarettes 46%

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Presentation on theme: " Most drug use starts and peaks during adolescence  76.5% of all teens (<18 years of age) try an addictive substance ◦ Alcohol 72% ◦ Cigarettes 46%"— Presentation transcript:

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2  Most drug use starts and peaks during adolescence  76.5% of all teens (<18 years of age) try an addictive substance ◦ Alcohol 72% ◦ Cigarettes 46% ◦ Marijuana 38% ◦ 19.4% will meet the criteria for a substance use disorder

3 Diagram of a neuron Neurotransmitter transmission

4  No one sets out to become addicted  First time use of any drug may be a choice but biology takes over in addiction  Every drug to which people can become addicted does so primarily because of the release of the neurotransmitter Dopamine  Dopamine is involved in regulation of movement, reward and punishment, pleasure, and energy

5  Synaptic changes occur with maturation  The fostering of these connections promotes life long learning  Connections can be impacted by substance use during adolescence; if they are not formed or are abnormal, they lead to misinformation

6  Gray matter develops between the ages of 5 and 20  Nerve cells are covered with insulation (myelin) which is made up of fat  Insulated neurons travel together to make pathways  Myelination increases in adolescence

7  Key brain regions ◦ Frontal cortex – responsible for planning, strategizing and judgment – develops later in youth ◦ Amygdala – responsible for emotional responses and assigns value to sensory stimuli ◦ Hippocampus – responsible for memory formation and stress regulation ◦ Corpus Callosum – connects the hemispheres and is responsible for creativity and problem solving

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9  All drugs that have reward impact will increase dopamine levels in the part of the brain associated with reward and motivational behavior  Adults have the ability to regulate their amygdala better than teens  The adult cortex can “throttle things down” but the teen cortex is not developed enough to do that as well

10  Dopamine activity in the prefrontal cortex during adolescence increases: ◦ Impulsivity ◦ Novelty/sensation seeking ◦ Drug reward ◦ Food reward The adolescent brain functions differently when exposed to drugs

11 Despite increased cognition and learning potential in the adolescent brain, they are more vulnerable because:  They respond strongly to rewarding stimuli  They have lower inhibitory control  Adolescents have less insight into their mistakes

12  The timing of exposure to drugs dictates part of its enduring actions  For example, the age of onset of alcohol use is a predictor of future abuse ◦ Below age 15, 4 to 5 times more likely to develop alcoholism compared to those who start after age 21 ◦ Alcohol dependence decreases 14% for every year a teen delays starting

13  Age of onset: Early adolescent rats consume more alcohol than adult rats  Length of intoxication: Early adolescent rats consume more alcohol than adult rats  Alcohol inhibits ability to learn in adolescent rats more than in adult rates  This research demonstrates increased impact of alcohol use in adolescence versus adulthood

14  Adolescents are more inclined to be driven by rewards – use age appropriate approaches that support this tendency  Integrate prevention; gear toward general public, specific population or subgroup, and specific high risk individuals  Consider the brain when talking with teens ◦ Teens interpret situations with amygdala (from an emotional point of view) – remain calm, rationale and do not engage in emotional debate


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