Honest Mom, My Hormones Made Me Do It!

Researchers in the US have studied causes for teenage mood swings and come up with some possible biological explanations. A study published in the journal Natural Neurosciencepoints to biological changes in the adolescent brain as a source for sudden teenage mood swings.

While moody teenagers has often been associated with puberty, it now appears that teens respond differently than pre-pubescent individuals and adults to the release of  tetrahydropreg-nanalone (THP). THP is a steroid that gets released in the brain.

It would appear that THP has two roles, one in the limbic system where it helps to calm things down, and another in the hippocampus where in adolescents it hots things up. The hippocampus is important for emotion regulation.

This paradoxical role of THP, said Smith and her team, is the reason for the adolescent brain behaving differently.

Sheryl Smith, a physiologist at the State University of New York conducted the research experimenting on female adolescent mice. This is thought to be the first direct evidence to suggest an underlying physiological reason for teenage mood swings.  

The net effect is that whatever the teenage person’s reaction to stress is likely to be, whether to cry or be angry, it will be “amplified”. Many times this appears like an overreaction to an adult, whereas a teenager thinks of it as the only think they can naturally do. These tests have yet to be run in people. Hopefully, it will help  parents, adults and teens understand that there may be some physiological reasons for why teens can be so moody and how to take control of these seemingly uncontrollable attitudes.  


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