A Study of the Adolescent Brain

A Study of the Adolescent Brain

Troubled Teens: What Happens During Adolescence

 Portrait of teen doing brain coordination exercise drawing symbolsHormones are powerful chemicals. Testosterone causes the physical growth that will carry teens into adulthood. If you have a teenage son, you may notice mood swings and strong emotions as these hormones take hold of his body.Today, the team at Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge dives deeper into the adolescent life: teens’ moods, brain chemicals, temptations, and what parents should be aware of with their son’s behavior.

Identity, Moods, and Emotions

For most teenagers, the transition to adulthood is hard. They’ve outgrown boyish interests but aren’t ready to handle the daily responsibilities of an adult. One of the biggest obstacles during the adolescent years is discovering who they are. Identities can change from month to month, whether your son is an athlete, a musician, or the brightest student in the class. Many teenagers struggle with self-esteem as well, feeling that they don’t meet the standards of their parents, teachers, or friends. As teens experiment with their personal values and beliefs, they may feel more impulsive and prone to take risks, like experimenting with drugs or alcohol.


Dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain, is released when you get something you want. When a teen thinks about a desire or fulfills that desire, his brain releases more dopamine than what would be released in an adult. This dopamine rush makes a teen more vulnerable to addictions. The chase for that good feeling can drive him to keep doing unhealthy things, like drinking or drugs.

Experimenting With Drugs and Alcohol

In today’s challenging world, teens often encounter pressure from their peers to try drugs or alcohol. They may believe that their current choices don’t matter, however, teens who engage in substance abuse are more likely to develop addictions as adults. Experimenting with substances could also instigate teen behaviors such as reckless driving, suicide attempts, physical violence, and drug overdose, among other things. Help your son realize that it isn’t worth the risk of potentially damaging his future. It may be helpful for him to talk to a parent or a mental health professional about his experiments with drugs and alcohol.

When to Find Support

If the common hormonal changes of adolescence become dangerous, reach out to our team for help. In many instances, a personalized program is necessary for your son to stay straight on the path. Whether it’s nurturing his self-esteem, validating confidence, or faith-based mentoring, Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge is the support system your teen can rely on.

Our Programs for Troubled Teens

Life can get complicated for teens. At Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge, we provide spiritual guidance, healthy relationships, and a strong education so that our students can take on life’s challenges without succumbing to drugs or alcohol. If you are interested in learning how our programs for troubled teens can help, check out the admissions process for our boarding school for boys. If you have any questions, please contact us today.
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