The teenage mind is constantly developing, which can be a challenge for parents. These changes can make teens especially susceptible to substance abuse, and often the first symptoms of mental illness surface during this adolescent period. To help parents better understand their teens, we’ve compiled six studies on teenage brain development and mental health.
The Teen Brain: Insights from Neuroimagery
Conducted by the Brain Imaging Unit at the National Institute of Mental Health, this report features findings from longitudinal studies of subjects from ages 3 to 30. Using magnetic resonance imaging, researchers were able to learn more about changes in the teenage brain such as peaks and declines in gray matter as well as increases in connectivity and integrative processing, all of which may affect teen cognition, emotion and behavior.
Adolescent Health and Adult Education and Employment, A Systematic Review
This study focuses on how poor mental health in teens can later lead to a disruption in adult education and employment opportunities. Researchers from the UCL Institute of Child Health found strong evidence that suggested teens who deal with a mental illness experience more difficulty in achieving a solid post-secondary education and steady employment in adulthood than those who didn’t struggle with an illness. However, policy interventions may help improve outcomes for teens with chronic mental health conditions.
PROSPER Community-University Partnership Delivery System Effects
This 2013 study’s purpose was to find out if evidence-based preventative interventions would help reduce the substance abuse rate in high schools. Ultimately, researchers found that these interventions did have the potential to reduce substance abuse among youth, especially those at risk, with relative reduction rates of nearly 32%.
Cannabis Use and Mental Health in Young People: Cohort Study
For this study, researchers wanted to see if they could find a relationship between teen cannabis users and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. The study found that frequent cannabis use in teenage girls can predict depression and anxiety later in life, with daily cannabis users carrying the highest risk.
‘Addiction’ in Adolescence: Who is Really Losing Control?
This study highlights the need for addiction service providers to evaluate how family functioning affects teen substance abusers. Specifically, it discusses how parents who have engaged in substance abuse may influence their teen’s addiction.
Adolescent Substance Abuse: America’s #1 Public Health Problem
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University performed extensive research on teen substance abuse, involving national surveys of high school students and interviews with leading experts in addiction-related fields. They found that 75% of students have used addictive substances and of those students, nearly 20% have a clinical substance use disorder. The CASA study also identifies the main risk factors for teen addiction and explains why teen substance abuse is the largest preventable and most costly public health problem in America.
If you’re concerned about your teen’s mental health, you can seek professional guidance.
Feature Photo: John-Mark Kuznietsov