Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adolescents Are Neurologically More Vulnerable To Addictions

Date:
June 19, 2003
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Adolescents are more vulnerable than any other age group to developing nicotine, alcohol and other drug addictions because the regions of the brain that govern impulse and motivation are not yet fully formed, Yale researchers have found.

New Haven, Conn. -- Adolescents are more vulnerable than any other age group to developing nicotine, alcohol and other drug addictions because the regions of the brain that govern impulse and motivation are not yet fully formed, Yale researchers have found.

Related Articles


After conducting an analysis of more than 140 research studies from across the basic and clinical neurosciences, including many conducted at Yale, the researchers concluded that substance use disorders in fact constitute neurodevelopmental disorders.

"Several lines of evidence suggest that sociocultural aspects particular to adolescent life alone do not fully account for greater drug intake," said Andrew Chambers, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the study published this month in the American Journal of Psychiatry. "And while we strongly suspect that genetic factors in individuals can lower the threshold of drug exposure required for 'tripping the switch' from experimental to addictive drug use, here we have a phenomena where a neurodevelopmental stage common to virtually everyone regardless of genetic make-up confers enhanced neurobiological vulnerability to addiction."

Chambers said that this perspective is possible when viewing brain systems involved in motivation and addiction as distributed components that undergo unique developmental histories.

"Particular sets of brain circuits involved in the development of addictions are the same ones that are rapidly undergoing change during adolescence," he said. "Normally these processes cause adolescents to be more driven than children or adults to have new experiences. But these conditions also reflect a less mature neurological system of inhibition, which leads to impulsive actions and risky behaviors, including experimentation and abuse of addictive drugs."

"Because of developmental changes in brain regions concerned with the formation of adult motivations, the actions of drugs in those regions to cause addiction may occur more rapidly and potentially with greater permanency," Chambers said.

He said the implications of this review are that addictions should be viewed as developmental disorders and that researchers should concentrate on the adolescent period when considering treatment and prevention of addictions. Also, it highlights the importance of researching the impact of current psychotropic medication treatment practices in childhood and adolescence on the incidence of addictions in adulthood.

"The identification of adolescent subgroups with heightened vulnerability to substance abuse disorders, development of evidence-based preventative strategies, and refinement of pharmacotherapeutic and psychosocial treatments are important areas to pursue in order to reduce the large impact of substance use disorders upon society," he said.

Co-authors included Jane Taylor and Marc Potenza, M.D., both in the Department of Psychiatry.

The study was supported by a Veterans Administration Special Neuroscience Research Fellowship Grant and grants from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Center for Responsible Gaming.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Adolescents Are Neurologically More Vulnerable To Addictions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030619075547.htm>.
Yale University. (2003, June 19). Adolescents Are Neurologically More Vulnerable To Addictions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030619075547.htm
Yale University. "Adolescents Are Neurologically More Vulnerable To Addictions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030619075547.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

AFP (Oct. 27, 2014) Coding has become compulsory for children as young as five in schools across the UK. Making it the first major world economy to overhaul its IT teaching and put programming at its core. Duration: 02:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins