How Drugs Alter Brain Development and Affect Teens

Changes in Brain Development and Function From Drug Abuse

Most kids grow dramatically during the adolescent and teen years. Their young brains, particularly the prefrontal cortex that is used to make decisions, are growing and developing, until their mid-20’s.

Long-term drug use causes brain changes that can set people up for addiction and other problems. Once a young person is addicted, his or her brain changes so that drugs are now the top priority. He or she will compulsively seek and use drugs even though doing so brings devastating consequences to his or her life, and for those who care about him.

(See moreStudy: Regularly Using Marijuana as a Teen Slows Brain Development)

Alcohol can interfere with developmental processes occurring in the brain. For weeks or months after a teen stops drinking heavily, parts of the brain still struggle to work correctly. Drinking at a young age is also associated with the development of alcohol dependence later in life.

What is Addiction?

No one plans to become addicted to a drug. Instead, it begins with a single use, which can lead to abuse, which can lead to addiction.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as:

A chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. Addiction is a brain disease because drugs change the brain’s structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting, and lead to harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.

The good news is that addiction is treatable. The treatment approach to substance abuse depends on several factors, including a child’s temperament and willingness to change. It may take several attempts at treatment before a child remains drug-free. For those teens who are treated for addiction, there is hope for a life of recovery.

The Council on Recovery’s Center for Recovering Families has a broad spectrum of outpatient services for adolescents, including individual therapy, group therapy, high-risk behavior classes, and other education and treatment programs. For information, call 713-914-0556.

(Source: Get Smart About Drugs, a DEA Resource for Parents, Educators, & Caregivers)

Vaping: What You Should Know….Before It’s Too Late

From the DEA’s Just Think Twice website…

Do you know what vaping is? Have you or your friends ever tried it?

According to a new study, vaping (the use of electronic cigarettes) is pretty popular among teens. But it’s probably more dangerous than you think.

Here are a few quick questions and answers about vaping:

What Exactly is Vaping?
The use of electronic cigarettes to inhale vapors from nicotine, marijuana (THC oil) or general flavorings is referred to as vaping.

There are hundreds of different brands and a few different styles of e-cigs. But in general, they are all battery-operated devices that have a cartridge that holds a liquid solution.

When a person puffs, the e-cig vaporizes the liquid and the user inhales the vapor.

Is Vaping Marijuana Oil More Dangerous Than Smoking It?
Yes, more than likely. This is because users tend to vape a higher concentration of THC (the chemical behind marijuana’s high) than they would smoke. This could also make it more likely for someone to get addicted.

What Are The Health Risks of Marijuana Oil?
Studies have found that regular marijuana use during the teen years disrupts brain development and can also lead to problems with attention span, behavior and impulse control in adulthood.

The Council on Recovery’s Adolescent Services department provides prevention, education, and counseling for teens exposed to and engaged in high-risk behaviors, such as vaping. Our Mindful Choices program includes a 12-week course to help adolescents deal with high-risk behaviors. We also offer concurrent parent education classes, parent coaching program, and individual and family therapy. For more information, call The Council at 713-914-0556.

The Council on Recovery’s Adolescent Services Program Confronts Teen Issues of Addiction, High-Risk Behaviors, & Mental Health Disorders

In response to the alarming escalation in addiction, high-risk behaviors, and mental health disorders among teenagers, The Council on Recovery has assembled an all-star team for its Adolescent Services Program at the Center for Recovering Families (CRF) to confront those issues head-on.

Dr. Susan Delaney , Adolescent Service Manager
Dr. Susan Delaney

The Adolescent Services Program team is led by Dr. Susan Delaney, an accomplished clinician with a deep background in mental health services for children and adolescents. Prior to joining The Council, Susan held key clinical positions with UTHealth and DePelchin Children’s Center that focused on trauma care, interventions, and counseling. In addition to her Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology, Susan also holds a MBA degree, which affords her a unique and valuable perspective on the business of delivering mental health services. Continue reading “The Council on Recovery’s Adolescent Services Program Confronts Teen Issues of Addiction, High-Risk Behaviors, & Mental Health Disorders”