The Vulnerability and Strength of the Adolescent Brain
Affiliation: PernilleBülow (Private Enterprise), Boston, United States of America
Keywords: Adolescence, Mental Health, Brain and Behaviour, Trauma, Pathology, Psychological Triggers, Epigenetics
Categories: News and Views, Life Sciences, Medicine
Around 20% of adolescent suffer from a mental illness, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among this age group. An interesting but disturbing fact is mental illness onset surge in adolescents. This article dives into the neuroscience of why and how the adolescent brain is more vulnerable to mental health challenges. The article discusses the two major sensitive periods of brain development: infancy and adolescence, of which the latter will be discussed in the context of sex hormones, neurotransmitters, anatomical maturation, and error signals generated by the brain. The major take-away is that the adolescent brain is in a period of construction that makes it more challenging to make the right decisions in the right situations. It is emphasized how the adolescent brain does not choose to act irrationally or succumb to peer pressure. Rather, the adolescent brain is in a transition phase that requires time and support to mature. This article is the first in a two-part series on adolescent brain development and function. This article was first published in Subkiton April 05, 2022 (https://www.subkit.com/pernillebuelow/posts/the-vulnerability-and-strength-of-the-adolescent-brain).