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The Stages of Adolescence - This Is Growing Up

The Stages of Adolescence - This is growing up

Most of us remember what it was like to grow up. It was full of wonder, change, and discovery.

But once you grow older and become a parent yourself, you often forget what the various stages of adolescence are like. From time to time, we all need a reminder of how chaotic growing up can be. The chaos of adolescence has led to a disturbing reality: suicide is the number three leading cause of death among youth ages 10 to 24. This problem hits close to home here in Ohio, where 14.3% of students reported seriously considering attempting suicide in a study conducted by the Ohio Mental Health Network.

There are three stages of adolescence a young person goes through, each with its own age range and changes.

For this blog post, we’ll take a look at those stages and what you can do as a parent if your child is struggling.

The Three Stages of Adolescence

There are three stages of adolescence recognized by experts, including early adolescence (10-13), middle adolescence (14-18), and late adolescence (19-23).

According to research from the Australian Government Department of Health, the stages are described as:

  • Early adolescence (ages 10-13) — This is a time of emotional and frantic activity which seems relentless. The group rules. Anyone who is 'different' because of physical or mental disability, ethnicity or culture, or physical appearance becomes the subject of ridicule. It is not unusual for young people to be quite cruel at this age.
  • Middle adolescence (ages 14-18) — This stage is characterized by more settled, introspective, and self-conscious behavior. At this age young people are still peer-oriented, but the most pathological young person ceases to intimidate the group. Cruelty becomes less frequent as group members are now able to tell one another to 'knock it off.' Steady relationships and dating take on utmost importance. Some bickering and arguing with parents and siblings usually occurs during this time.
  • Late adolescence (ages 19-23) — This is characterized by 'settling down' as the young person becomes more focused on tasks. At this point, decisions regarding careers, relationships, and issues of separation from parents are in the forefront. There is a realization that life does not hold limitless possibilities.”

Throughout the three stages of adolescence, a young person will typically go through physical changes, cognitive (thinking and reasoning) changes, and social changes. These changes can lead to battles with their mental health.

Mental Health During Adolescence

Millions of Americans battle some form of a mental health disorder. Young people are not exempt from that.

Two of the most common mental health disorders are depression and anxiety.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), “Depression is a serious medical illness. It’s more than just a feeling of being sad or ‘blue’ for a few days. If you are one of the more than 19 million teens and adults in the United States who have depression, the feelings do not go away. They persist and interfere with your everyday life.”

The NLM defines anxiety as “a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress.”

It’s important to remember, for both you and your child, that what they’re feeling is valid. Although they may be dealing with a mental health disorder, things can get better. There are solutions.

Depression is typically treated through therapy, medication, or both.

In cases of moderate to severe depression, it may be recommended that your child receive therapy and medication. However, everyone is unique, and that will be considered.

Therapy is an excellent way to treat depression. It can help your child learn how to deal with depression in a healthy way, and it can help them change thought patterns that could be holding them back or impacting their depression.

Medications may also be prescribed to help your child address their depression. These medications are known as antidepressants. It’s important to remember to not give up on the medication right away as it may take some time to work. Remember, since it can be very dangerous, your child should not stop taking the medication without first consulting with their doctor.

By seeking treatment at an earlier age, your child can help prevent depression from growing worse as they get older. Developing coping mechanisms and depression management skills is important because even in adulthood, depression is common.

As for anxiety, therapy can help your child discover psychological issues that are affecting their mental health and ways to deal with those issues. Similar to depression, medication may be prescribed. In some cases, both therapy and medication may be recommended to combat symptoms of anxiety for you teen.

Things Can Get Better

Remind your child they’re not alone. Millions of people across the country have dealt with a mental health disorder, including depression and/or anxiety. The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and these issues can be addressed.

Growing up can be hard, but that doesn’t mean your child shouldn’t learn to manage their mental health disorder. It can help them build the foundation to live a happier and healthier life.

Always remember, things can get better.

Treatment at SUN Behavioral Columbus

SUN Behavioral Columbus offers evidence-based adolescent therapy treatments, provided by a child psychologist, to help with mental health and mood disorders.

Adolescent therapy is defined as identifying psychological issues that impact mental health and emotional distress. Once your child’s individual needs have been determined, a teen counselor will work with them to identify healthy ways of dealing with and managing depression and/or anxiety.

The combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy may be used to help make managing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety much easier.  Your teen's stress will be manageable.

SUN Behavioral Columbus’ staff of psychiatrists and trauma-informed professionals are here to make sure your child is receiving the care they need throughout the treatment process.

Mental Health Services

Here at SUN Behavioral Columbus, we believe in empowering our patients to be the expert in their life. This includes being able to identify their needs and learning how to overcome obstacles. To learn more about how we can help, call 614-706-2786.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three stages of adolescence? What are the behaviors of each stage?

The three stages are early adolescence (ages 10-13), middle adolescence (ages 14-18), and late adolescence (ages 19-23). Early adolescence consists of emotional and frantic activity, middle adolescence consists of more self-conscious behavior, and late adolescence typically consists of settling down and focusing on tasks.

What are the three major areas of development in adolescence?

Throughout the three stages of adolescence, a young person will typically go through physical changes, cognitive (thinking and reasoning) changes, and social changes.

What happens during the adolescent stage?

Each stage of adolescence has its own unique challenges and changes. Depending on their age range, your child may be emotional, self-conscious, or more focused on tasks.

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