The word adolescence can refer to two different terms used in psychology. In the first case, it refers to a chronological phase which ranges from puberty to the beginning of maturity.
Also, this word designates a modality of the psyche that presents particular features such as anxiety, uncertainty, impulsiveness and need for freedom .
It is a state of mind that can reappear in different periods . From the point of view of psychology; adolescence, in itself, represents a concept whose main characteristic is transformation. Therefore, it is used to refer to the various types of changes that can occur in a person’s mentality.
Generally, when referring to adolescence, it will be identifying a stage of transformation in which the individual goes from being an infant to an adult.
This transformation is given by a series of both physical and mental changes. The complete development of your entire body is a process that is often called puberty, but this is a common mistake, since this word specifically designates hormonal modifications.
Adolescence usually ranges from the age of 10 to 20, however this range can vary. Adolescence is a stage whose duration is not precise , each person experiences this transformation in a different way. Also, external factors must be considered, such as the cultural characteristics of the society to which the individual belongs.
Although it is true that the main characteristic is related to physical changes, we can mention the following:
- Height growth
- Increased fat
- Body weight
- Muscle and bone development.
However, it is important to highlight the psychological changes that are also connected with the physical ones, but in turn these are generated by coexistence and social relationships .
Another determining factor is the gender of the person: boys and girls have their own evolutionary characteristics.
Sexual changes are of special relevance, they are easier to identify in the growth of the genital organs. The full development of the reproductive system of each sex will also have a direct effect on personality and learning of social skills .
Characteristics of adolescence and its development
Adolescence is usually described from two distinctive stages, which we describe below:
- Early adolescence is the one that marks the beginning of puberty, in which most physical changes are observed, among which sexual maturation stands out . It usually ranges from 10 years of age to 15.
- Late adolescence ranges from 14 to 20. It is characterized by the development of psychological and emotional characteristics typical of adulthood .
From the point of view of psychology, adolescence is a stage characterized by the development of more formal and abstract thinking.
The search for an own identity
Adolescence is closely linked with sexual identity and also with learning social skills . In this way, you learn to experience different types of situations that allow you to create friendships. Such activities can include dancing, sports, and even drinking alcoholic beverages.
During this stage, there is an internal struggle to try to structure an identity of its own . This is a complex process, it is sometimes conflictive and is carried out through a continuous search for independence and stability.
For psychologists this is a stage that can cause various types of problems of emotional, behavioral, social, school, sexual, eating and even violence nature.
In most cases, reference is made to physical changes, but it is more remarkable how the mental development that is experienced during this stage occurs. The assimilation of different concepts and the need for adaptation are their own characteristics, which are a subject of interest to psychologists. Periods of instability are typical of adolescence, so timely psychological treatment can help overcome this transit.
Adolescence and change of social life
During adolescence, different types of social rites are usually performed , this serves as a sign of the beginning of adulthood. They serve as a commemoration or a celebration to take this great step. For this reason, it is common to carry out different activities typical of this stage such as parties, sexual exploration and the beginning of the practice of some vices, such as smoking. .
Adolescents are generally immersed in a scenario characterized by social pressures and emotional instability. This is why these are individuals who are vulnerable and are so prone to experiencing different types of risks.
Why is adolescence important in psychology?
Adolescence is an important stage for psychologists, since generally problems that occur during this period could have negative effects in adulthood. The psychological problems that adolescents usually appear to be related to the conflict that represents the observation of changes in the body. This is also related to the initiation of sexual activity and behaviors that are the result of experimenting with alcohol and drugs.
Likewise, it is important to mention that the brain begins to make chemical and physiological changes . Most psychological illnesses occur during adolescence, but these are a few isolated cases. For example, schizophrenia, depression, and some eating disorders often begin to show symptoms during this stage.
The search for an own identity is perhaps the main problem for adolescents. Emotional insecurity and difficulty in expressing oneself freely are some of the factors that, if not treated in a timely manner, could lead to greater difficulties during adulthood.
The influence of the environment on adolescents
Adolescents are influenced by their environment. Mainly by people whom he considers friends. The emotional state of these individuals presents characteristics that can still be associated with childhood , but at the same time more mature attitudes and thoughts begin to develop. The psychology of adolescents is complex, for this reason the difficulty that in most cases to create satisfactory affective bonds , supposes the beginning of depression.
Psychology has presented different theories that try to explain how an individual can be helped during this stage of their development. The main focus is trying to give greater importance to aspects related to social welfare . In this way, it could be more precisely addressed how mental and physical changes affect them.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.