Teenagers' brains are constantly developing and their hormones are critical for growth and development, but they also can cause mental illness. Dr. Sophie Reid recruits three teens to record mood diaries in order to study their changing emotions.
Dr. Nick Allen explains Aaron’s extreme mood shifts are caused by a dramatic change in the limbic system happening much more suddenly than his frontal lobe development. The amygdala’s flight or fight response becomes much more reactive in puberty.
Teenagers are thrust into a volatile social environment. Allen explains an adolescent's newly developed thinking skills allow them to explore unanswered, existential question.
Sarah deals with social rejection and bullying at school, but she uses creativity to discover her identity. Andrew Fuller explains the neurochemical serotonin is especially powerful in adolescents and drives a person's desire to assimilate.
Rebecca suffers from the mental illness depression, which can be the result of a traumatic or stressful event in adolescence, such as the breakdown of a romantic relationship. Allen explains the serotonin transporter gene paired with a problematic environment has been shown to cause depression.
Credits: The Science of Teens
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In this episode of Whatever! The Science of Teens, host Steve Cannane meets some teens with diverse backgrounds who are all known for a particular character trait: moodiness. Parents complain about how their perfectly sensible, lovable children turn into volatile, irrational adolescents seemingly overnight. The latest science shows that typical teenage negative moods aren’t only inevitable, but they are especially helpful and beneficial for growing up. However these opportunities also come at a cost. Being a teen is the most vulnerable time in our entire lifespan to develop a mental illness. About a quarter of Australian teens are suffering from mood disorders such as depression.
Length: 27 minutes
Copyright date: ©2009
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