How the Environment Affects the Adolescent Brain
Affiliation: PernilleBülow (Private Enterprise), Boston, United States of America
Keywords: Adolescence, Mental Health, Brain and Behaviour, Trauma, Pathology, Psychological Triggers, Epigenetics, Nature, Nurture
Categories: News and Views, Life Sciences, Medicine
This article is the second of a two-part series on adolescent brain development and function. While the first article discussed the neuroscience of how the adolescent brain changes as it matures, this article will focus on how the environment can interfere with the adolescent brain and make them more likely to develop mental health disorders. Two major environmental influences are discussed in depth: substance abuse (cigarette smoking, marijuana use and alcohol) and chronic stress (bullying and caregiver maltreatment, e.g. sexual/physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, neglect). The results of the studies are discussed in the context of individual differences and long-term consequences on mental and physical health. The main takeaway is that the adolescent brain is particularly susceptible to environmental influences with long-term effects for mental health, and it emphasizes the importance of providing proper emotional support for this age group. This article was first published in Subkit on April 05, 2022 (https://www.subkit.com/pernillebuelow/posts/part-2-how-the-environment-affects-the-adolescent-brain).