The Adolescent Brain and Substance Abuse

The Adolescent Brain And Substance Abuse Fact Sheet

During puberty, hormones (estrogen and testosterone) associated with risk taking and sensation seeking are surging at a time when the brain’s ability to make decisions, weigh consequences, understand and accept responsibility, and control impulses is not yet fully developed.

The combination of “raging hormones” and an immature brain explains why teens are vulnerable to experimenting with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. These substances, however, also affect brain chemistry and can have a long-term impact on brain functions.

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