Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Allied Sciences, Nehru Nagar, New Delhi

Adolescents

Hormones, habits, interests, distractions, and a whole lot of emotions - Adolescence is a time of change in our lives. It is also when we are most susceptible to developing a mental health issue. Available evidence suggests that the onset of a mental health issue in an individual is believed to occur around the age range of adolescence, up to 24 years. However, we should not equate adolescence with negative perceptions.

fundamental to who we are. ADOLESCENCE ISN’T AN ABERRATION. The adolescent brain isn’t a dysfunctional or a defective adult brain. Adolescence is a formative period of life, when neural pathways are malleable, and passion and creativity run high.

The first psychologist to study adolescence as a period of development was Stanley Hall, who at the beginning of the twentieth century defined adolescence as starting at puberty, around 12 or 13 years, and ending between 22 and 25 years.

Many researchers today define adolescence as the interval between the biological changes of puberty and the point at which an individual attains a stable, independent role in society.

In some cultures, things are very different, and children are expected to become financially and socially independent as soon as they reach puberty.

Why is the adolescent stage of human development exceptional?

  • Adolescents behave differently from adults.
  • Many take risks.
  • Many become self- conscious.
  • Their habits and attitudes often leave much to be desired.
  • They relate to their friends differently.
  • They often question the status quo

What is it that makes adolescents behave in a recognizably ‘adolescent’ way?

Adolescents have long been blamed for their apparently errant ways; some have put their behaviour down to changes in hormones at puberty; others attribute it to social changes following on from puberty and the new importance of peer relationships, or associated with the shift from small primary schools to large secondary schools in early adolescence.

Now, though, armed with new knowledge from brain scans and experimental studies, we can try to understand adolescent-typical behaviour in terms of the underlying changes in the brain that happen during these years. Studying changes in brain structure and function reveals a huge amount about why teenagers do what they do, and more broadly about how the architecture of the brain relates to the behaviour we display, and how brain development - as well as hormones and the social environment- shapes who we become as we emerge into adulthood.

As adolescents, we may be susceptible to developing an eating disorder, dealing with stress due to self esteem issues, body image, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, addiction to substances or particular behaviour patterns such as excessive use of social media or technology. Issues left unaddressed may go onto our adult lives, hampering the true potential of a life that could have been.

At Vimhans, young adults get specific attention in mental health with professionals especially experienced & qualified to deal with these issues. Call us for more detail, or book an appointment with our professionals as a concerned well wisher, or for your own mental health.

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VIMHANS Services for Adolescents

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