Date: 11 Apr 2014 (Latest version)

Adolescence and Responses to Drugs

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Adolescent neurodevelopmental vulnerability; Peri-adolescent psychopharmacology


Adolescence is a major developmental phase in which the body, brain, mind, and behavior of the child progress to those of an adult. Although it has long been known that mental functioning and behavior differ significantly between children and adults, an emerging body of evidence indicates that these changes are driven by changes in brain architecture and function. To the extent that these changes are the most robust in, or exclusive to, adolescence, this phase may also represent a context in which drugs impacting the central nervous system produce especially potent and long-lasting alterations.

Current Concepts and State of Knowledge

Adolescent Neurodevelopment

Adolescence encompasses the growth and alteration of many neural and somatic systems and spheres of function that evolve with differing developmental timelines both within and between individuals (Cicchetti and Cohen 2006). Given this c ...