Brisbane South Alcohol & Drug Counselling


Taking Control | Changing Lives

Brain abuse by teens.

Schoolies 2015: Gold Coast schoolies celebrate with butt selfies.

Brain abuse by teenagers

‘Ten foot tall and bullet proof’ is a comment often used when referring to a teenager’s behaviour. A teenager’s lack of judgement or ability to ‘care or reason’ is puzzling for some.

However, brain immaturity of our teenagers explains why they are risk takers.

No amount of money or expensive campaigns will properly address some teenagers disregard for their lives and that of others.

So why don’t these campaigns work??

Firstly, we need to understand how a teenage brain develops.

Quite simply, the pre- frontal cortex is not fully developed until young adulthood (approximately early 20’s).

This part of the brain helps ‘put the brakes on’ a desire for thrills, risk taking, problem solving and reasoning, however, it is one of the last areas to develop.

Some responses to a teenagers use and/or abuse of alcohol and/or drugs maybe ‘oh it was just a one – off so there’s no harm done. They will be okay in the morning.’

This response may seem ok at the time, however, studies show a ‘one off’ consumption of alcohol and/or drugs may not just affect a teenager’s brain for that evening or weekend, in fact it will affect their brain for the next 80 years of their life.

If we deliver developmentally appropriate campaigns or information to our teenagers we may be able to begin to change the young lives that are lost due to vehicle accidents, substance abuse and/ or dependence, alcohol use and/or abuse as well as addressing teenage pregnancies and other health related issues.

Beaulieu C & Lebel, C (2013). Journal of Neuroscience. PLD. UCLA.


Therefore, a 'one-off' event like Schoolies or any other occasion can have a major impact on young brains.

It is interesting that our news and police reports tell us of the small amount of arrests etc.  But brain damage is not visible to the naked eye.  Therefore, cannot be reported on which I assume is lucky for all the people who are 'getting rich' from enabling young adults to abuse their brains.

Don't we want a better outcome for the young adults of tomorrow??