Adolescence is a significant developmental period in which numerous changes occur, including the biological changes of puberty; greater autonomy from parents and family; increased time spent with peers; and the tendency to engage in greater exploration and risk-taking behaviors, like experimentation with alcohol. At the same time these changes are occurring, however, adolescents’ brains are developing in important ways. From birth through childhood, brain tissue and neurons are overproduced; then, during adolescence, the brain begins to strengthen the connections that are used, and connections that are not used are eliminated (Spear, 2000).
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