National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (January 25-31)

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On Monday, National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week began, sparking local events across the country in an effort to “shatter the myths” about drugs and alcohol, particularly among teens.

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Inside the Teenage Brain

If I could turn back time and re-live certain years of my life, I wouldn’t choose my teenage years. Asking my parents’ permission for everything, trying to fit in with my peers, and going through various awkward stages? Yeah, I think once was enough.

According to a recent LiveScience article, adolescence is one of the times when the most growth happens in the brain. Not only is puberty taking place, which is already an awkward stage, but the brain also plays a role in the random tantrums, indecisiveness, and uncertainty that sometimes takes place at this point in a teen’s life.

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The Changing Teenage Brain

“The teen brain is not a broken or defective adult brain,” Dr. Jay Giedd told an auditorium full of teachers at last week’s Learning and the Brain Symposium.

But it is in a period of great change and opportunities.

“The long development period gives the brain more time to become specialized.” Giedd, chief of the Unit on Brain Imaging in the Child Psychiatry Branch at the National Institute for Mental Health, thinks this can be “empowering for teens” as they try new things and build the skills that could shape the rest of their lives. “Plasticity has vulnerabilities, but has many, many upsides.”

Just what is happening inside an adolescent’s brain?

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