From kid to adult: How our brain develops

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Did you know it takes a minimum of 25 years to build a basic brain? Diane Atwood, who writes the blog Catching Health, shares some wisdom on understanding the brain during a critical time of growth, adolescence.

Diane Atwood:

Next month, the group 21 Reasons is hosting a free presentation at Deering High School - I'll give you details in a moment. 21 Reasons is a coalition of individuals, organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing underage drinking.

The presentation is for parents and anyone who works with youth.

It's called Blame it on the Brain. The speaker, Karen Williams, explained to me that between the ages of about 12 and 16, the part of the brain that's in charge of thinking, learning and controlling undergoes a massive reorganization.

The changes are in addition to puberty. Which means everything that happens in the teen years is not all about raging hormones.

Karen says that it is vital to understand that during adolescence, the childhood brain suddenly disappears - it's as if someone hit the reset button!

The teen brain is wired for three things:

· Power

· Purpose

· Partnership

Anyone who can offer all three will get a teen's allegiance - which is why it's critical that at least one caring adult does - in a positive way.

Teens who have difficult lives, who don't have involved caring adults, are at highest risk for veering off the path and harming themselves or others.

The workshop is meant to provide a deeper understanding of how anxiety, stress and trauma can trigger all kinds of issues that could be prevented - including addiction, depression, self-harm, violence and bullying.

If you're interested,

Blame it on the Brain happens

Wednesday, April 15th | 6-7 pm

Deering High School Auditorium

In addition to the Deering High presentation Karen will also be at the Damariscotta YMCA Monday and Rumford Mountain Valley High School Tuesday.

I don't have specifics on those, but I've got contact information for all the presentations on the Catching Health blog. Just go to


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