Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Drugs and the brain
Posted by:Ken Sutton--Monday, December 18, 2006

(this was written by Margie Modro, MS,CPS Western Psychiatric Clinic & Institute of UPMC Presbyterian Drake Annex)

Most adults realize that adolescence is a time of transition. What has also been discovered by neuroscientists is that the brain of adolescents are less developed than previously believed. Adolescence is literally a time when a child is becoming , but is not yet, an adult. These discoveries have many implications for the use of alcohol and other drugs during this developmental period. The more parents understand what is happening during this critical period of brain development, the better they will be able to respond to the needs of their children.

There is lots of information available to help parents become better informed. A good starting point is Bringing the Power of Science to Bear on Drug Abuse and Addiction from the NIDA web site. An excerpt from the full article follows....

". . .This is how the memory of drugs works: The yellow area on the upper part of the second image is the amygdala (a-mig-duh-luh), a part of the brain’s limbic system, which is critical for memory and responsible for evoking emotions. For an addict, when a drug craving occurs, the amygdala becomes active and a craving for cocaine is triggered.

So if it’s the middle of the night, raining, snowing, it doesn’t matter. This craving demands the drug immediately. Rational thoughts are dismissed by the uncontrollable desire for drugs. At this point, a basic change has occurred in the brain. The person is no longer in control. This changed brain makes it almost impossible for drug addicts to stay drug-free without professional help. Because addiction is a brain disease.. . "


Home Alone said...

Thanks Margie. This further emphasizes the tragedy of what kids are doing to themselves with substance abuse. They do not realize or really care. Another good article about the teen brain was in 11/29/06 Pgh. Post Gazette, titled "Teenagers' brains are still under construction".

Ken Sutton said...

Click here for the article Home Alone mentioned


This layout (edited by Ken) made by and copyright cmbs.