Adolescence is the period of life from late childhood to adulthood. It begins around the onset of puberty and ends when the person is physically, mentally and socially mature.

What is adolescence?

Adolescence is the period of life from late childhood to adulthood.

Adolescence is often understood as a synonym for the time of puberty, but actually includes parts before and after. The childhood and the juvenile phase lead directly into adolescence and ends in young adulthood. The WHO refers to adolescence as the phase of life between the age of 10 and 20, in the USA it covers the 13th to 19th year of life in terms of puberty and in the German youth criminal law the 13th to the 21st year.

All these periods can be consistent, and ultimately, adolescence also depends on the individual development of the girl or boy to woman or man. It has medical, biological, psychological and social relevance.

Young people in adolescence develop physically to sexual maturity and then mature to the adult human with all the physical characteristics of their sex. The psychologist observes in adolescence first experiences of self-reliance, responsibility, love and separation from the parents. Friendships and one's place in society play an increasing role.

Today's adolescence ends when the young adult assumes responsibility for his own life and is physically well-developed physically according to his age.

Function & Task

The childhood phases had the purpose to develop basic functions of the body and to set in motion important mental processes. Much has the young man already behind him, such as learning the basic attachment behavior or the breakthrough of the dentition.

Adolescence begins with puberty and all the major physical changes that the body undergoes in adolescence. The young man reaches sexual maturity, whereby the body is now continuously influenced by male or female hormones and trains or strengthens appropriate sexual characteristics. In adolescence, many teenagers struggle to accept these changes and their appearance as a whole, but in adulthood, most people gain some acceptance of their appearance. Most unpleasant phenomena of adolescence, such as blemishes or severe menstrual pain, have normalized until then.

Another important aspect of adolescence is the fundamental reorganization and reorientation of the brain. Emotional independence from the parents is achieved over the years. In adolescence the young person also seeks his place in the social fabric and finds ways to create it. Friendships are more important, they shape the learned social behavior. The development of the intellect in this time is clearly noticeable, which is promoted by the school attendance developmentally.

The benefit of adolescence for a young person is to gradually become more independent and lead an independent life, to father offspring and raise them. But although self-reliance is the goal, the adolescent needs support from parents, family, peers, and society in general to develop into a healthy adult.

Diseases & complaints

Like childhood, adolescence is a formative phase of physical, mental and social development. Developmental anomalies can therefore lead to permanent consequential damage. Particularly important is the physical development towards the mature adult. If sexual maturity occurs too early, it may be as normal as it could be as a symptom of underlying disease. Thyroid tumors and pituitary tumors, which have not been detected to date and remain symptom-free, would cause adolescence to be delayed, slowed or absent. This eliminates male and female hormones that allow the body to mature into the adult image. Consequences may be decreased fertility, a micropenis or undeveloped, androgynous breasts in women.

More common than real illnesses are ailments that, while fundamentally harmless, can be very stressful. In boys, for example, this includes the increased aggressiveness of the high levels of testosterone. Not every boy in adolescence has the same level of mirror, but if they do, they sometimes lead to more aggressive and belligerent behavior, and they like to get the adolescent into trouble.

Girls, on the other hand, are more likely to suffer from their menstrual period, which can still be painful, especially in adolescence. This remains the case for a few years and improves in early adulthood or even in late adolescence. In adolescence, many young women also struggle with skin blemishes and find it difficult to accept the changes in their figure.

However, the physical development of adolescence also triggers a maturing process of the psyche, because the young adult has to learn to accept himself. Nevertheless, emotional distress during adolescence is perfectly normal, even if the teenager seems to be suffering from them at times. Regular conversational offers from parents, peer-to-peer exchanges, the availability of trusted individuals such as teachers, school psychologists or the pediatrician contribute to the timely recognition and elimination of psychological problems in adolescence.

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