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Home > Research Articles > Brain develops first to seek thrills

United Press International

Thursday, June 26, 2003

United Press International - June 25, 2003

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jun 25, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Adolescents who experiment with drugs and alcohol couldn't pick a worse time and a study says it may change their brains.

Doing drugs during the teenage years "really does make concrete changes in the way your brain operates, in a permanent sense," Andrew Chambers, a Yale University psychiatrist and lead author of the study, told ABC News.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, suggests teenage addiction is partly caused by different rates of development by different parts of the brain.

Children look for cheap thrills and exciting adventures, because that's what kids do, and the part of the brain that stimulates that behavior develops very early and rapidly, according to Chambers.

The part of the brain that allows people to make mature decisions, develops much more slowly.

Most people who can't give up drugs or alcohol or smoking were already addicted in their teenage years, the researchers found.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.