chapter  5
21 Pages

Substance Abuse Counseling with Later Adolescent Males (Ages 18 to 24)

The age group defi ned as “later adolescence,” which includes individuals who range in age from 18 to 24 years (Newman & Newman, 2012), is considered by most laypeople (and especially by those who fi nd themselves in this particular age group) as young adulthood (and not “adolescence”), even though the neurobiological, developmental processes that started in the early adolescent brain (discussed in chapter 4) continue throughout this later adolescent developmental level. If you will remember, as individuals move from adolescence into mature adulthood, the “bottom-up” neurobiological systems related to sensation-seeking and risk-taking gradually lose their “competitive edge with the progressive emergence of ‘top-down’ regulation” (i.e., executive functioning in the prefrontal cortices of the brain) (Casey & Jones, 2010, p. 1197). This process continues until approximately age 25 (Crews, He, & Hodge, 2007). Therefore, in many ways, even though there are multiple socio-cultural factors involved in defi ning normative “adolescent” or “adult” behaviors, the underlying biological processes of building mature bridges of neural circuitry between higher and lower cortical structures in the brain runs parallel to the building of the bridge that spans over the developmental ravine between adolescence on one side and mature adulthood on the other.