Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence
Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Therefore, during the teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behavior of young people. Many mental illnesses have their onset in adolescence, including those that run a chronic course resulting in significant disability.
So what is so distinct about this age group? Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Therefore, during the teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behavior of young people. Adolescence is the period in life marking the transition from being a child to being an adult, and it overlaps with teenage. In other words, it is a phase where one gradually moves from being dependant to becoming an independent person. This is the time when one’s personality starts to evolve. There is physical, social, and intellectual development. This period is one of the busiest times of life; there is so much happening.
Imaging studies and brain development
Using structural and functional MRI scans in their research on adolescents, a team of scientists in London found that strangely the brain reduces the size by a tiny proportion, losing some nerve cells during the phase. It is reported that some connections between nerve cells are eliminated by discarding some neurons while strengthening those connections is deemed important. The brain development correlated with hormone-related puberty usually occurs at the beginning of teenage for boys and just before teenage girls. The scientists rightly argue that there is a biological reason for what happens during adolescence.
At this age, they develop the curiosity to explore and experiment. They have reduced communication with parents and start spending more time with friends in school and college. They come under peer influence easily. Scientists found high risk-taking behavior, especially if they perceive motivation by peers watching them closely. However, they seem to perform well when peers are not watching them. There is also an urge to perform an act to stand out or do something exciting. Because the front part of the brain is evolving, that creates inhibitions to certain kinds of behavior. There will be mood swings, and decision-making is likely to be inconsistent.
Fear of peer rejection
It is common for young people to spend excessive amounts of time with friends, more than family members. Very few people prefer to remain aloof or alone during this period. Peers can influence ways of thinking, although thoughts are generated in their own minds. In fact, it is the individual who has to take responsibility for their own thoughts. If they feel they have frequent and excessive intrusive thoughts, termed automatic thoughts, they should seek advice without delay.
Being hypersensitive towards peers’ reactions is very common, but at the same time, they can be hypersensitive in terms of emotional reactions towards family members. It is believed that the commonly occurring mood swings around this time can lead to conflicts about decision-making, hinder communication with family members as they easily misread the expression and body language of the family members.
Other reasons for low self esteem
Another reason for this is that their social development is still taking place, and they are beginning to learn social interactions. Many activities occur as group activities, and no one likes to be left out of a group. The person feels indirectly forced to accept an offer of habit-forming substances by peers, to be part of a group, feeling that otherwise they will be isolated. There is the risk of using the substance weighed up against the risk of being isolated.
Individuals at teenage may become extremely anxious over the prospect of being rejected, leading to using substances. Thus they become vulnerable to peer influence. On the positive side, peer influence motivates the person to attend college regularly and participate in physical activities such as sports or cultural activities. It can be difficult to pick and choose. Some peer group behaviors and activities can be highly unpredictable. Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Hence, during the teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behavior of young people.
There is a change in the social interaction patterns occurring due to changing roles. From being a daughter or sibling, roles change to being a friend, college student, then employee. The individual is moving from dependency to independence during this time. Parents expect them to take responsibility. There will be direct or perceived family expectations that the person could take up paid employment in the next few years after completing his or her education. This could even create a conflict if the goals that are set are not in line with expectations.
Impulse control and addiction
The urge to do an act develops through the stimulation of the limbic system, which is the area that deals with emotions to seek instant rewards. The person gets into the vicious circle of seeking immediate reward and performs acts. This can be one of the main reasons for behaviors such as smoking and other habit-forming substances. Involvement in social media groups for prolonged lengths of time that affects daily functioning, academic performance, and the ability to work towards their own goals needs early intervention.
Areas of the Brain involved
At this stage, the front region of the brain, which is to do with inhibition of impulses called the pre-frontal cortex, is slowly evolving towards making a teenager’s mind mature. Teens also go with phone use, gadgets, social media use, and clicking selfies. Several deaths have occurred during the clicking of selfies due to risk-taking behavior. Habit-forming substance use could persist through adulthood, and often such behavior has its beginnings at this age.
Lots of Change
There are changes in so many dimensions that the person may struggle to adapt if not given support. There is a change in physical body structure in girls and boys. Girls start to have regular monthly periods. There are hormonal changes that can lead to changes in emotions, and this, in turn, can affect thoughts. Sexual orientation develops, and a few can have excessive sexual urges. The person needs to adapt to cope with the new roles. They need to make career choices. Generally, they may feel under the influence of their parents and agree with them, but may later feel it was not their own choice. Some people may struggle in their careers and manage somehow, but it can trigger anxiety and depression in some.
Body image perception
In a survey, most teens reported that they needed to maintain a certain body shape and size. Magazines influence and reinforce their behavior. Media influences the image perception of self. An individual may develop a fear of gaining weight and appear obese, may become preoccupied with intrusive impulses, urges, or thoughts, which take precedence over any other activity for them for weeks and months. These conditions are Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa, one concerning eating disorders commonly seen in a small percentage of girls. Again these may be due to the fear of being rejected by peers or may even have been a result of bullying for being obese in the past.
Is It something else like an eating disorder?
Firstly, missing meals and a significant reduction in the quantity of food intake to lose weight are common. Sometimes, immediately after a round of binge-eating, to avoid the guilt, they induce vomiting to avoid gaining weight. However, these behaviors need early attention, so a psychiatrist or a specialist in adolescent medicine can prevent the deterioration to the extent of harm to physical health. Even though there may be significantly and morbidly low in weight or body mass index, they still can get intrusive thoughts of feeling obese or a part of their body seen in the mirror as fat. Consequently, this condition needs attention, and assessment by psychiatrists and suitable treatment must begin at the earliest.
Suicides and mental illness
Mental Illness and suicides are prevalent and rising in this age group. As per Census in 2011, 30% of the population of India was between 10 and 24 years of age. The mental health care needs of the segment are increasing. Public health education and engaging teens are early identification and prevention of breakdown, anxiety, and depressive illness even if there is an illness, with appropriate engagement and consultations with psychiatrists, who can treat this.
Self-esteem and identity
Individuals are searching for their own identity at this age — who they are and how they fit into society. For some, they will not know what’s really going on with so many changes happening. They should try avoiding comparisons with their peers. They can start to set small achievable goals that they can achieve. With every small achievement, their self-esteem increases. Self-appreciation is something that needs to be emphasized in colleges. Because of low esteem, they try to seek attention, and they cannot cope with peer rejection. They may slowly indulge in risk-taking behavior, try habit-forming substances, or smoke. Patients need to be aware of the influence that their peers can have on them. Clients need to weigh the pros and cons and learn to be assertive and say “no” at times.
Everyone tries to cope with stressful situations when they face them and develop certain coping mechanisms. Mal-adaptive coping mechanisms include substances, self-harm, shouting, screaming, abusing, or use of foul language. They need to learn adaptive coping mechanisms, which include sports, hobbies, ignoring, self-distraction, meditation, exercise, yoga, and reading, and focus on higher achievement or charity work.
Cognitive behaviour therapy
Principles of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) involve examining one’s own thoughts, challenging own thoughts, and slowly changing them to adaptive thoughts by understanding their influence on emotions and their own behavior. However, a negative thought brings about anger or sadness, which leads to a person becoming less sociable, whereas a positive thought would cheer up, leading to more socializing. Thus, understanding their own thought patterns and working on them by keeping a diary of their own thoughts might help. Remember that Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy.
Many countries are reportedly trying to help adolescents learn to practice mindfulness, which is learning to experience only the present moment. Indeed, this may generally work well if it is combined with a suitable meditation technique. Practicing meditation regularly will give the individual good control over thoughts.
Tackling peer pressure
Remain aware of the extent of the influence. Set your own goals and focus on your disciplined routine, including concerning sleep hygiene. Learn to be assertive. Examine your own self-esteem level and work on them. Take time to make decisions, as you may have mood swings that have interfered with your decision-making. Discuss with mentors or even with your sibling or mother. It would help if you believed in your abilities. Moreover, fear of rejection or even rejection would not be the end of the world in reality. It is just anxiety of becoming lonely as people do fear loneliness.
Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is not the easiest of things. However, lots of reasons for lots of things happening around adolescence exist. Society should focus on them. They can start learning as it is considered the best time to learn what can sustain for life. Educating teens regularly about their behaviors can be made a part of their curriculum. In conclusion, positive changes brought about can bring them on the right track to make their future bright, thus creating a great advantage to society.