Trouble Letting Go: Understanding Addiction in the Adolescent Brain

In this workshop participants will learn why adolescents are more sensitive and more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, nicotine, and drugs than adults are. This workshop will examine why this vulnerability exists and will provide concrete methods for both prevention and intervention. In addition, the process of addiction in the brain is examined with implications for changing addictive behaviors in adolescents.

Learning Objectives

  1. Introduce participants to data reflecting the  incidence of teenage addiction.
  2. Introduce participants to the brain organs systems and processes involved in forming addictions and illustrate why the adolescent brain is especially vulnerable to developing an addiction.
  3. Teach participants about the facts of addiction versus the common myths. 
  4. Expose participants to the prominent risk factors for these addictions and the primary warning signs.
  5. Detail for participants the components of an effective prevention program as demonstrated in the research on teens and addiction.
  6. Explore with participants interventions used to help adolescents and teens when they become vulnerable to drug and alcohol addiction.


"What an eye opener. I am so glad to know all this information so I can be sure to explain it to my students. If they know how quick they can become addicted, they may not just try it that one time." 
—Lacy Hadell, MHSA Participant

"Presenter is very knowledgeable and passionate about helping children. The workshop had so much great information that I don't know one particular thing to point out.
—Parent, Harlem Park Middle School, MD 

"Glad I selected this breakout session. Tons of great information. You are a wonderful speaker!"  
—Lara Kaine, AADA Participant