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What causes teenage rebellion?

December 15, 2015 0 Comments


Society often looks at each generation of teenagers with confusion, wondering why they act certain ways. Blaming “raging hormones” is almost routine. Experts digging for the truth behind the stereotype find a mix of results concerning brain development, its influence on behavior and potential involvement with mental illness.

One particular finding by Harvard Medical School highlighted the impact of drug addiction on the teenage mind.

“In both human beings and laboratory rats, studies have found that adolescents become addicted to nicotine faster and at lower doses. Functional brain scans also suggest that … adolescents are hypersensitive to the value of novel experiences,” experts explained in the article titled “The adolescent brain: Beyond raging hormones.”

Also a potential issue is susceptibility to peer pressure. One experiment had teens take a driving simulation “allowing them to win a reward by running a yellow light and stopping before they hit a wall.” When friends were watching, young people were more likely to risk crashing compared to adults in a similar experiment.

A number of other typical teen behaviors are explained by puberty, such as changes in sleeping schedules (due to hormones regulating sleep and other functions) and increased sexual desire (because of the tenfold increase of testosterone production in boys).

The article also stated that the brain’s continued changes during this time can lead to malformations, resulting in mental disorders.

“According to some theories, the pruning of gray matter [in the brain] or the thickening of the myelin coat in late adolescence allows the early symptoms of schizophrenia to emerge,” the author wrote.

Figuring out the difference between a serious problem and typical teenage rebellion can prove difficult for some parents considering the myriad of professional and lay anecdotes loose in the public sphere.

Nassir Ghaemi, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine and director of the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts Medical Center, provided his own expert advice to help adults decide on a course of action in cases of trouble.

Ghaemi told parents to trust their intuitions and steer away from normalizing destructive behavior. Otherwise, teenagers can carry mental illnesses and addictions into adulthood due to lack of treatment.

White River Academy is a licensed, accredited residential treatment center for male adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 with behavioral problems. No matter the cause of the young man’s behavioral difficulties, our mental health professionals treat the problem with knowledge and care. We provide numerous therapies and curriculums to help young men return to and stay on the right path. Call our 24/7 helpline for more information.

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We would like to thank all the wonderful staff at WRA for the great parent weekend. We enjoyed it and felt that we learned valuable insights on Positive Peer Culture and the values we must have and the importance of family commitment to each other...

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