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Substance Abuse on the Developing Brain - Steve Dansinger

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Published on Apr 10, 2011

Steve has been working with young people for 19 years since becoming a high school teacher a year and a half into his own recovery for substance abuse. He has a great passion for it and works with them in health and substance abuse, anger management, violence control, conflict resolution, prejudice and diversity issues. Until he became a health educator he didn't realize how much damage he had done to his own brain through substance abuse. The fastest brain growth spurt occurs from 0 -- 2 years of age. The second largest growth spurt occurs in adolescence where the brain continues to develop into the 20's. The damage of drugs and alcohol on the brain during this developing time is profound, and can not only kill brain cells, but also change the chemistry of your brain in a way it was not meant to develop. Steve stopped using at 26 and takes note of his own damage during adolescence. He was a pretty smart kid and thinks he might have at least weighed his options a little more if he knew then about all the lasting damage he would do to his brain. We know so much more today about the developing brain than we did before. It took a long time to resurrect some of the damage he did to his brain when he was young and the emotional, mental and physical tolls it took on him. Something he will never be able to regain is the memory loss and impact to his moods. The brain needs to be nourished at this critical time and not be hit with toxins like drugs and alcohol. Steve feels very lucky to be where he is today and in this position to help and educate youths.

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