Discuss the concept of adolescence as a social construct

Adolescence describes the transitional stage in a teenager’s life, from childhood to adulthood, where an individual evolves physically, psychologically, emotionally, cognitively and socially. It is a defined social category that is expressed through immaturity and unpredictability and allows an individual to learn and discover their sense of self and identity. The idea of adolescence came into perspective after children were expected to take on adult roles as soon as they were mature enough to, going straight from puberty to adulthood. As society changed and moulded, so did the ideas about life stages, which is evident in Erikson’s theory.

Adolescence is the perfect example of our modern societies ‘social construction’. A social construct is a sociological theory based upon categorised groups in modernised cultures, devised by social constructionists who view knowledge of reality as ‘established’. Adolescence was invented because of these social constructions in westernised cultures which depend entirely on the society in which it is used. Although the concept of adolescence is commonly used and referred to in westernised cultures, it does not exist in most developing countries as they aren’t exposed to the resources which educates them about it. Instead of going through adolescence, teenagers in developing countries go straight from childhood to adulthood and have no time to develop interests or a sense of identity.

Erik Erikson established a theory about the life stages of a human, starting from infancy and ending at maturity (65+). Through the use of a ‘maturation table’, Erikson was able to emphasize a wide and cohesive set of life skills and abilities that function together within an individual. Although he discussed all of the life stages, he focused on the adolescent period more thoroughly as he felt that it was a crucial stage for an individual to develop their identity. The ‘identity versus role confusion’ is a crisis which is typically evident during early to middle adolescence. It outlines the struggle an individual faces in finding stability between developing a sense of forming a unique identity while still being accepted and “fitting in” with society.

Erikson believed that when teenagers adequately navigated their way through this crisis, they would transpire into having a clear understanding of their individual identity and easily share this new ‘self’ with others. However, if an individual is unable to navigate their way through this crisis period, they may be uncertain of who they are which can result in a lack of understanding, leading to disconnection from society and the people around them. If youth become stuck at this stage they will be unable to become emotionally mature adults, according to Erikson’s theory. This period of an individual’s life allows them to investigate possibilities which will lead them to discovering their own identity based upon the result of their explorations.

A westernised culture that embraces the life stage of adolescence are the Indigenous Aboriginals of Australia. The aboriginals embrace adolescence by engaging in a tradition known as “Walkabout”, which passes a boy from childhood to adulthood. Although this tradition has been around for centuries, some Aboriginals in today’s society still partake in it but have adjusted some of the regulations. Walkabout refers to the journey an adolescent boy undertakes, alternating from a laid back playful child to a responsible and mature man. Throughout this deeply spiritual and reflective stage of an Aboriginal boy’s life he will experience a greater connection to the land and nature, which ultimately becomes a part of their identity as a man. At the beginning of time the ancestors created paths for the men to follow while going on Walkabout, leading them through songs and ceremonies that connected them to important waterholes, food sources and landmarks.

These paths were known as ‘songlines’ and essentially enhanced their cultural and spiritual connection with the land and their ancestors. After 6 months of living in the wilderness and exploring who they are as a person, they return with a sense of wholeness within themselves and with world around them enabling them to pass through adolescence and into adulthood. Sub-Saharan Africa lies south of the Saharan desert and is one of the most challenging places for an adolescent to live. Most of the teenagers that live in Sub-Saharan Africa aren’t given the opportunity to experience adolescence as they tend to go straight from being a child to being an adult and taking on fully fledged adult responsibilities. The health and safety of an adolescent girl in this area can be placed at risk, as they are often forced to abandon childhood before they’re ready, limiting their chances to grow as a person, gain an education and a sense of identity.

Being a young girl in Africa, it is not only unfortunate, but also very common to fall pregnant and have a baby at the age of 16 or younger. Due to this, many girls have to leave school and are forced into the world of adulthood. Enduring motherhood at a young age can make a girl particularly vulnerable to violence and most girls that live in Sub-Saharan Africa may experience abuse at least once in their life. Sexual violence and pressured sex is common, especially among female adolescents and young women. Younger mothers are more likely to experience complications or death due to pregnancy and childbearing. In Australia, teenagers experience what it’s like to go through adolescence by developing a sense of identity, achieving independence, developing a positive state of mind and discovering skills for future life stages.

Although all these things can positively impact the period of adolescence, some teenagers may use this to their advantage and can endure in some dangerous behavioural activities. The most common adolescent activity that most Australians experience, is schoolies. Schoolies marks the end of tertiary education and adolescents embark on this by going on a holiday with their friends of choice, partying and experimenting with alcohol and even drugs. From youth to adulthood, schoolies week is seen as a transitional period of an individuals life which marks the transition from the discipline of school to the plunge of freedom that they partake in. In conclusion, adolescence is a period of ones life where an individual can embark on new experiences, gain a sense of identity, learn about themselves and discover who they are as a person. Although not all people go through adolescence, it is a major growing period for a person’s life and if they choose to embrace this positively it will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Physical Changes in Adolescence

Children must pass through several stages, or take specific steps, on their road to becoming adults. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services the term adolescence is commonly used to describe the transition stage between childhood and adulthood. Adolescence is also equated to both the terms “teenage years” and “puberty.” They also state that puberty refers to the “hormonal changes that occur in early youth; and the period of adolescence can extend well beyond the teenage years. In fact, there is no one scientific definition of adolescence or set age boundary.” During the adolescence stage, parents will notice the greatest amount of changes that will occur in their child’s body. The adolescent himself/herself will also take note of these changes. Some of these teenagers may experience theses signs of maturity sooner or later than others.

Adolescence is the time for growth spurts and puberty. The adolescents may grow several inches in height. This is true for both boys and girls at the age of 13 and goes as far as 18 yrs old. When it comes to the puberty change then these become more visible since there are several signs. The females start with these changes as early as 8 years old and in males at 9.5 yrs. Sexual and other physical maturation that occurs during puberty is a result of hormonal changes. As a child nears puberty, the pituitary gland increases the secretion of a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone then causes additional effects. In girls, FSH activates the ovaries to start producing estrogen. In boys, FSH causes sperm to develop. In boys it is more difficult to know exactly when puberty is coming.

There are changes that occur, but they occur gradually and over a period of time, rather than as a single event. Some of these changes might be the enlargement of the testicles, appearance of pubic hair their voice deepens and at the age of 14 some of them may have even ‘wet dreams’. The girls also happen to experience some changes as well. The first one to be noticed is the developmental of their breast, menstruation period and changes in their body shape start to show. No two teenage bodies are the same so some may experience these physical changes before others.

Physical development is a critical part of adolescence. How adolescents perceive their physical self, that is, what they think they look like and how they feel about it, directly relates to their overall sense of self-worth. Many of these feelings are influenced by their culture, the media, their peers, and their families. They are also influenced by their own initial sense of self-esteem as they enter this rapidly changing phase of physical development. We know that the changes are rapid and often drastic, resulting in rapid growth and physical maturity. Now that we have a sense of some of the important physical changes that occur during adolescence, we can use this information to help us better understand teens. It will also help us recognize their sensitive thoughts and feelings. We can use this information to help us direct them toward positive behavior and outcomes.

By the beginning of late adolescence, many of these changes are nearing completion. This allows teens to gain more acceptance and ownership of their body image. By reminding ourselves of these changes, we can become more sensitive to teens’ growth experiences and treat them with the respect, compassion, and consideration that will help them move smoothly through these physical transitions. Parents can help their children by providing support and by being understanding and tactful during discussions about these changes. Preparing one’s children for the initial onset of puberty (menarche for girls and spermarche for boys) will let them know what to expect. It will also minimize any stress and shame that they may feel without adequate preparation.

The approach to this preparation should be gentle, but informative. It may be given in a manner that is very positive, explaining that these events are “normal” and everyone experiences them once in their life. Once the child understands that this is part of the path to adolescence and a rite of passage, they will view these changes with minimal stress and maximum acceptance.

What does my adolescent understand?
The teenage years bring many changes, not only physically, but also mentally and socially. During these years, adolescents increase their ability to think abstractly and eventually make plans and set long-term goals. Each child may progress at a different rate and may have a different view of the world. In general, the following are some of the abilities that may be evident in your adolescent: develops the ability to think abstractly is concerned with philosophy, politics, and social issues thinks long-term sets goals compares one’s self to one’s peers.

As your adolescent begins to struggle for independence and control, many changes may occur. The following are some of the issues that may be involved with your adolescent during these years: wants independence from parents

peer influence and acceptance becomes very important
male-female relationships become important
may be in love
has long-term commitment in relationship
How to assist your adolescent in developing socially:
Consider the following as ways to foster your adolescent’s social abilities: Encourage your adolescent to take on new challenges.
Talk with your adolescent about not losing sight of one’s self in group relations. Encourage your adolescent to talk to a trusted adult about problems or concerns, even if it is not you he/she chooses to talk with. Discuss ways to manage and handle stress.

Provide consistent, loving discipline with limits, restrictions, and rewards. Find ways to spend time together.

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Anxiety and Depression in Adolescence: A Social Problem

1. Introduction

Anxiety and depression in adolescence has become an increasing issue in society as time has progressed. Rates of high school students who qualify for the criteria that meet a mental disorder are 6-8 times higher than the same age group in the 1960’s. A test given to high school students over the years called the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Index (MMPI) gives us data from 1938 (“Marsh”). The test is a personal survey asking students to answer questions about themselves on a scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree (ex. I am happy today). Mental disorder rates are higher today than during the great depression, WWII, and the cold war. So why is this happening? A factor many experts agree on is a switch from an internal locus of control to an external. A majority of teens today don’t feel as though they are in control of their own fate and that can cause a lot of stress. This is partial credit is due to the way our society is shaped today; we have made a major shift from an emphasis on play to an emphasis on work. Kids are asked to grow up much earlier. Children and teens are becoming anxious at a much larger rate than in past years. The culture we now live in puts much more pressure on young people at a younger age, forcing them to grow up. The anxiety is crippling if left untreated, and with the amount of people experiencing it, it’s a social problem worth looking into.

2. Where does anxiety and depression come from?

The etiology of anxiety and depression can be traced back to an individual’s first stage of life. Psychiatric specialist John Marsh writes in his book that a child’s temperament in their first year of life can show behavioral signs that may lead to becoming an anxious child and teen. A parent can identify these early signs that include: excessive bouts of crying, sleeping difficulties and gas (“Marsh”). These traits or actions may seem normal for an infant thus it’s hard to expect a parent to pick up on any of these early signs, so they shouldn’t fret too much this early on. Where anxiety really starts is with an irrational fear of something that an individual perceives as a threat or dangerous.

This fear causes a change in behavior, like an avoidance of a situation where many people are or may be present in the case of social anxiety (“Alfano”). The part of the brain responsible for this fear is the amygdala, the emotional capital of our mind. The amygdala’s structure is altered when we become fearful of something, making it hard for the fear to be conquered or shaken. When this fear manifests, it can turn into different forms of anxiety and thus become part of a person’s emotional capability (“Marsh”). In essence, anxiety alters the stimulation of a certain fear into something people cannot handle and become overwhelmed.

The main area that psychologists and other scientists have focused in on the last 10-15 years in child psychology is behavioral inhibition of the unfamiliar, or BI (“Marsh”). BI represents the tendency to exhibit fearfulness, restraint, secretiveness, and withdrawal in the face of novel events or situations. The more inhibitions a child shows, the more likely they are to develop anxiety or have anxious tendencies. BI is moderately heritable yet the largest factor in BI is the environment and experiences one has. In a study shown in Marsh’s book, nonshared environmental influences contribute more to BI than do factors shared by siblings, such as genetics and shared experiences.

BI is lessened by socialization, if a child becomes engaged in play and conversation with others from an early age; they are less likely to be inhibited. Parental encouragement in this aspect is key such as parents making play dates for their children and things of that nature. Let me be clear, BI is not the same as anxiety, it is a studied precursor to anxiety that has a lot of valuable research to back up the link between BI and anxiety. It is a good thing for parents and clinicians to pick up on at an early age in the child’s life to make the proper adjustments to ensure no mental breakdowns occur.

Outside of BI as a child, there are other things that can play into an adolescent onset of anxiety or depression. One of these things is the parental influence, whether it be the parent’s own mental illness, style of parenting, or the sociability of the parent, they all can affect the child. Biological predisposition is a factor a child can’t control and is unfortunate. 20-50% of teens that suffer from depression, anxiety or another disorder have a family member with some form of mental illness (“Borchard”). It has long been documented that children of parent’s with any mental disorders are at a much higher risk of also developing a disorder. As for parenting style, anxiety in teens and children has been associated with parenting styles characterized by limited expression of care and warmth and more inclination toward showing control and overprotection. A study done in 1991 by Krohne and Hock, observed pairs of mother and daughter solving puzzles, high-anxious girls and low-anxious girls divided the study into two groups. The psychologists found the mothers of high-anxious girls to be much more controlling than those of low-anxious girls (“Marsh”).

A young person, with the exception of school, has most their social interactions due to their parent’s connections. They have Thanksgiving with their cousins, aunts, and uncles and have barbecues with their parent’s work colleagues and their families. If a child’s parents are less socially involved, it hinders the child’s ability to grow and advance these skills, causing an emergence of anxiety in these situations (“Marsh”). Besides parental contact, the most beneficial relationships for young people to have are positive relationships with their peers. Peer victimization is a common experience that negatively affects young people psychologically. Recent research findings are a bit appalling, indicating that one in five youths are chronically exposed to ongoing abuse, whether it was physical, verbal, or any other form (“Muris”). These occurrences of bullying were most strongly linked to depression, low-self esteem, and social anxiety. An interesting study was done in 2005 by Strawser, Storch, and Roberti. They gave undergraduates a Teasing Questionnaire (TQ), which measures the degree to which people could recall being teased during childhood.

Results demonstrated that TQ scores were linked to social anxiety, trait anxiety, worry, and anxiety sensitivity (“Muris”). This study shows that peer victimization can play a key role in the development of mental disorders and the long lasting effects it can have. A place of interest I had while researching was if there were any differences in financial and ethic status in the community and if that had any significant effect on anxiety and other mental disorders. In general, the socioeconomic status of a youth was not a deciding factor in occurrence of mental disorders but one thing that does hinder those of less fortunate situations is they are much less likely to seek or receive treatment due to the costs. Most studies carried out in the US have found that children from ethic minorities (i.e. African American, Hispanic American) display higher levels of fear and anxiety than Caucasian counterparts. This also may be due to the fact that more minorities live in urban settings versus suburban settings, which can cause a sometimes more stressful living environment. Stressful or traumatic life events are definitely a factor in a child or teen developing any number of disorders.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that is directly connected to a significant single event or string of events happening. In a journal I found, the goal of the study conducted was to look at the difference between dependent and independent events and the effect they had on pre-adolescent children. Dependent events are events that the individual actually chooses to do or directly involves the individual, such as choosing to partake in drugs. Independent events are things the individual has no control over such as the death of someone close to them. The findings of the study were that anxiety and depression are very likely to occur after dependent stressful events and independent life events were less likely to have effects lasting longer than six months (“Eldemira”). The results of this study suggest that life choices have more influence in mental disorders than things out of one’s control.

These are just general reasons children and young adults can develop mental disorders. Today’s society produces a variety of other factors that are specific to our time, showing the difference that has progressed over the decades. Students suffer today the immense pressure to get good grades in order to get into one of the elite colleges of the nation. From 9th grade in high school, kids are under the impression that unless they get straights A’s, their college options are going to be very limited. This is a level of stress that in past generations was not present at such a young age. Another thing unique to our decade is the phenomenon that is social media. The popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter and the smartphone era in general has caused raised levels of anxious teenagers. This anxiety doesn’t come directly from social media, but from being away from it. A study done by Wilhelm Hoffman of the University of Chicago compared social media addictiveness to other things with addictive qualities. The results came back with the fact that social media was harder to resist than alcohol, caffeine, or cigarettes (“Fitzgerald”). Overall, the most significant factor in recent years is the change from intrinsic to extrinsic goals.

3. Different Types of Disorders

There are a large number of anxiety and depression disorders, with many twists and turns that make diagnoses very specific. In order to keep from being too repetitive this section will focus on some of the most largely diagnosed disorders including general anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and general depression. Discussing the symptoms and what these disorders entail is the goal of this section in order to provide a solid base of knowledge of just what young people are suffering with today.

3.1 Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Children with general anxiety disorder or GAD are plagued by worries most children or teens can shrug off. Often referred to as “little adults”, these children are concerned about things like health, personal value, safety, and their future. They also tend to worry a lot about other people and their issues, which have nothing to do with themselves, such as the neighbors’ fight they had last night. These worries become a central part of daily thoughts and this can disrupt development and adjustment to life (“Essau”). GAD has mostly been documented and studied in adults; this is because in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM) up until the 4th edition over-anxious disorder (OAD) was what this was called in children. These conditions are considered very similar and overlap many symptoms so now GAD is the universal term used regardless of age.

The main symptoms of GAD in the DSM-IV are excessive worry about multiple topics, difficulty controlling or regulating the worry, somatic symptoms that accompany the worry, and functional impairment resulting from the worries. There are a lot of overlaps in symptoms of anxiety so if these are restricted to: separation from someone, social situations, or a specific event than GAD is not the right diagnosis.

3.2 Social Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety as a whole is conceptualized as a tripartite system (“Alfano”) consisting of physical symptoms, subjective or cognitive distress, and behavioral avoidance. Social anxiety affects about 5-16% of young adults ages 15-24 depending on what study or survey you look at. Regardless, it’s too many people being affected than should be. The physical symptoms of social anxiety include: tachycardia (a heartbeat that exceeds 100 beats per minute), blushing, trembling, and sweating. These can occur not only in a social situation but in the anticipation of an upcoming event as well. An investigation performed in 1985 by Beidel, Turner & Dancu found that systolic blood pressure and heart rate significantly increase when someone who suffers from SAD was talking to someone of the opposite sex (“Alfano”).

Cognitive symptoms are very similar to that of GAD but it’s mostly the unreasonable worry that the person will do or say something that will be seen by others in a group as embarrassing or humiliating. This can take the form as specific negative thoughts, a general unease in social settings, or even specific beliefs that one will not behave how they think one should in social situations. The negative thoughts are something that is commonly seen in most patients. It’s usually one of the things that appear on self-reports and it’s hard to break. In my personal experience with a psychologist, she had told me that these are referred to as NATs or negative automatic thoughts. Just like the insect gnat, they are annoying thoughts that will not seem to leave someone caught in this struggle, which is why therapy is helpful to reshape the way someone thinks.

The behavioral aspect of SAD is avoidance of social settings. Many people who suffer from SAD become reclusive. These behaviors can be very subtle such as avoiding eye contact with teachers or asking to be behind-the-scenes when putting on a school play (“Alfano”). An interesting table I found surveyed a high school on different social events and what percentages said it caused at least a moderate level of distress and caused avoidance. The top 5 categories, oral reports, attending dances or parties, asking a teacher a question in class, starting or joining a conversation, and athletic or musical performances all had 85% or more of the students say it caused at least moderate distress and 55% or more said it caused avoidance of those situations (“Huberty”).

3.3 Depression

Depression, for the most part, is less of a chronic disorder like most anxieties are. Depression is usually a bout that people deal with from two weeks anywhere to two years. If the symptoms don’t pass after that amount of time, it becomes diagnosed as dysthymia, which is the chronic form of depression. Regardless of whether an individual is suffering for a short period of time or chronically, depression can be extremely debilitating. At any time about 10-15% of people under 21 suffer from depression. The more frightening statistic is that only 30% of these depressed people are receiving or seeking help (“Borchard”).

There is a large range of symptoms and signs that someone is suffering from depression. These include: apathy, complaints of physical pain such as headaches, stomachaches, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite or overeating, memory loss, thoughts or obsession with death and dying, sadness or feeling of hopelessness, trouble sleeping or too much sleep, drop in grades, substance abuse and many other things. Depression, rather than getting scared, seems to make someone numb to the world. Often due to some sort of disappointment such as inadequate social status, sexual frustration with orientation or inability to talk to the opposite sex, school performance or any other number of things (“Gray”).

4. Treatment

Treatment is a glimmer of hope in today’s world. Although rates of anxiety and depression have continued to climb, treatment methods are also continuing to improve as science and technology advance. The most widely accepted or praised method for treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy. “Cognitive-behavioral is meant to represent an integration of cognitive, behavioral, affective, and social strategies for change” (“Marsh”).

A study that is pretty representative of the cognitive-behavioral process as a whole was done in 1989 by Kane and Kendall. The study took a group of adolescents suffering from anxiety and put them through therapy for 6 months. Kane and Kendall were able to divide the process of recovery into four major components: “1. Recognizing anxious feelings and physical reactions to anxiety, 2. Identifying and modifying negative self-statements, 3. Generating strategies to cope effectively in anxiety-provoking situations, and 4. Rating and rewarding attempts at coping” (“Marsh”). After the six months, self-reports, parental reports, and reports done by the clinicians had improved significantly. A follow up appointment was made three months after the study had ended and about 50% of the subjects had made considerable gains in adopting and using their newfound knowledge. The other half had regressed at least in some way back to old habits. This shows the differences between individuals and their needs, some can have an intense short treatment and be fine for the rest of their days while others need a constant support over many years.

The other portion of treatment that is of importance in our time especially is intervention by the means of pharmacotherapy. Using drugs such as anti-depressants and anxiolytics in order to stop anxiety and depression has increased as technology has improved. The three most commonly prescribed medicines for anxiety and depression are benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, and SSRIs. Benzos are prescribed for a short-term period for severe disabling anxiety. The way this drug works is it dampens the overall activity in the brain in order to calm the person. Beta-blockers are commonly prescribed to those who suffer from social anxiety because they essentially block adrenaline output, lessening the nerves one can feels from being excited or nervous. SSRIs are the latest and most effective antidepressant. They have been praised for their lack of side effect compared to older anti-depressants. Formally selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, they keep serotonin, the neurotransmitter in charge of mood, in the brain longer causing a raise in mood.

Just from 1996 to 2005, antidepressant use in the US has gone from 5.84% of the population to 10.12% (“Grohol”). The trend is still increasing and it may just be because more people are becoming depressed but it also could be because of a shift to a “quick-fix” societal norm. We live in a world where if someone can no longer get an erection, they take a blue pill called Viagra and are ready to go. This same mentality can be applied to drugs used for mental disorders. People can go into a doctor’s office and say they need something to make them feel better and skip the most important part of the process, therapy. Without a change in behavior, the antidepressant won’t have a strong effect. It has been proven time and time again that cognitive-behavioral therapy accompanied by a drug is the most effective strategy in lowering anxiety or beating depression. “Two treatments provide a greater ‘dose’ and thus may provide a more rapid and efficient response” (“Marsh”).

5. Conclusion and Possible Improvements

We live in a rapidly changing time, and that may be one of the very reasons that so many people are anxious and depressed, the fear of the unknown and change. Regardless of whether that holds true or not, we have an obligation as a society to change the way we approach anxiety and depression in young people because they will be the leaders of tomorrow. The idea of just fixing things by throwing a pill at the problem is not the right way to handle things because it doesn’t have long-term benefits. It may initially be helpful but it doesn’t allow an individual to look at a problem and realize the error of their ways and why was something going on. The “quick-fix” we have going on is in part due to a loss of sensitivity in our world as a whole. Things like Facebook and texting makes face-to-face contact less and less necessary and we lose a sense of humanity because of it. The result that may come forth if this downward trend continues is about 1/5 of our country’s soon-to-be adult population suffering from mental disorders and not being able to contribute or enjoy life to their full potential. Adolescent-onset of mental disorders has been proven to have an even stronger overall toll than the adult-onset version; therefore, action is necessary as early as possible (“Marsh”).

The future isn’t entirely gloomy though. We have the chance as a society to change how we deal with mental disorders in young people. One thing that would benefit many would be to go back to a more creative and individualized education experience. By allowing children and teens the ability to “play” and seek passions, we can create a system that may not produce as many CEOs but instead people who are simply happy in their career and life. Allowing more time for children to grow up could be very beneficial for their mental health. Another possible improvement is in the medical field. Making psycho-evaluations mandatory or as important as annual health check-ups could allow early preventative action to take place. By starting this process early in an individual’s life, it could greatly reduce the chance of an anxious or depression outburst to occur.

The number one thing that can happen in order to change the prevalence of mental disorder rests on the shoulders of parents. By being knowledgeable in the dangers of mental disorders today, like 5,000 annual suicides, a rate triple of the 1960’s, they can be the best preventative force. It’s better to be proactive and than reactive. Muhammad Ali said it well when he stated, “you can set yourself up to be sick, or you can choose to be well.” The future of this social problem is in our hands, whether we choose to continue down the track where anxiety and depression rates rise, or take a stand, is all up to us. Regaining an internal locus of control, allowing creativity and individualism to thrive, and caring about happiness more so than financial wealth are ways we can stop the progression of anxiety and depression in adolescence.

Works Cited

Alfano, Candice A., and Deborah C. Beidel. Social Anxiety in Adolescents and Young Adults: Translating Developmental Science into Practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2011. Print.

This book is based on social anxiety in adolescents. Social anxiety symptoms are often seen in teens but only recently books like this one have come out that really dig into the adolescents. It looks at the etiology of the problem, which is what I will be mainly using this source for.

Borchard, Therese J., “Why Are So Many Teens Depressed?” Psychcentral.com 03. Apr. 2004. Web. 10 Nov. 2012. .

Borchard is an associate editor for Psychcentral.com and upon reading her article she had a few interesting facts that I thought were worth sharing because they show a general hopelessness in today’s youth that we need to fix.

De Jong, P.J., B.E. Sportel, E. De Hullu, and M. H. Nauta. “Co-occurrence of Social Anxiety and Depression Symptoms in Adolescence: Differential Links with Implicit and Explicit Self-esteem?” Psychological Medicine 42.03 (2012): 475-84.EBSCOhost. Web. 14 Oct. 2012.

This article talks about social anxiety and depression and how they very well can go hand in hand. The study looks at two different types of self-esteem, implicit and explicit. Explicit self-esteem is deliberately self-evaluating while implicit has more to do with memory. The goal of the study was to see if these explicit and implicit self-esteems did in fact result in higher levels of depression and social anxiety. I will use this study to look at the differences between a teen’s memory and actual thoughts of themselves effect on mood.

Eldemira Domenech-Llaberia, et al. “AGE, GENDER AND NEGATIVE LIFE EVENTS IN ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION SELF-REPORTS AT PREADOLESCENCE AND EARLY ADOLESCENCE. (English). “Ansiedad Y Estres 17.2/3 (2011): 113-124. Academic Search Complete Web. 17 Oct. 2012.

This is a study that took students from 4th to 6th grade from 13 randomly selected schools participated. The study looked at the difference in age, gender and life events on a student’s prevalence to get anxiety and depression. Provides me with information based on different groups of people.

Essau, Cecilia A., and Franz Petermann, eds. Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Epidemiology, Risk Factors and Treatment. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2001. Print.

This book is another look at how to diagnose, deal with, and treat anxiety issues. The interesting thing with this book is it’s about ten years older than the other books and so the difference in findings will be gripping to look at it.

Fitzgerald, Britney. “Social Media Is Causing Anxiety, Study Finds.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 July 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

Fitzgerald’s article talks about the effect that social media has on anxiety and just how addictive Twitter, Facebook and other things in the same category are.

Gray, Peter. “Freedom to Learn.” The Dramatic Rise of Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents: Is It Connected to the Decline in Play and Rise in Schooling? Psychology Today, 26 Jan. 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. .

Peter Gray talks about one of my main focuses, the switch from play to work early on in a child’s education and the effect that has.

Grohol, John M., Psy.D. “Antidepressant Use Up 75 Percent | Psych Central News.”Psych Central.com. N.p., 3 Aug. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. .

This article is all about the rise in the usage of antidepressants and why this is happening.

Huberty, Thomas J. Reed. Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents: Assessment, Intervention, and Prevention. New York: Springer, 2012. Print.

Thomas Reed’s book was written in as an insight or somewhat of a guide in understanding what goes on in a young person’s development that allows anxiety and other mental disorders to develop. Historically there has been five major factors in the development of mental disorders such as biological or social but this book adds a sixth: schools. Reed thinks that a child’s school is not only for educational growth but all other factors as life as
well. Looking into a school setting is critical because outside of the home it’s where children usually spend most their time.

March, John S. Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents. New York: Guilford, 1995. Print.

This is the last print source that I have; it seems to be the most technical and scientific as well. John March is the chief child psychiatry specialist at Duke University and so he’s a specialist among specialists. I will look into what he says and try to elaborate my research with it.

McLaughlin, Katie A., Joshua Breslau, and Jennifer Green. “Childhood Socio-economic Status and the Onset, Persistence, and Severity of DSM-IV Mental Disorders in a US National Sample.” Social Science & Medicine 73.7 (2011): 1088-096.EBSCOhost. Web. 15 Oct. 2012.

This article dives into the idea that a socio-economic status is a factor in a child or adolescence’s mental health. It has been documented many times, but this article found that childhood financial status wasn’t usually the main factor in a child’s overall mental health. I will use this article because I think that a social economic status seems like it would matter tremendously in mental health.

Muris, Peter. Normal and Abnormal Fear and Anxiety in Children and Adolescents. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2007. Print.

Peter Muris’ book goes into the epidemiology of anxiety in children and the difference between that and normal fears. He examines how some children have a worse way of adapting to bad situations. That vulnerability is a key factor in the development of according to this book and I want to look at that portion of this book.

Nicholas Allen, et al. “Parental Behaviors During Family Interactions Predict Changes In Depression And Anxiety Symptoms During Adolescence.” Journal Of Abnormal Child Psychology 40.1 (2012): 59-71. Academic Search Complete. Web.
17 Oct. 2012.

A journal investigated the longitudinal relations between parental behaviors observed during parent-adolescent interactions, and the development of depression and anxiety. Positive and negative parental behaviors were examined. This is a great thing to look at for my paper because parents play a huge role in a child’s development.

Zavos, Helena M.S., Ph.D, Chloe C.Y. Wong, Ph.D, Nicola L. Barclay, Ph.D, and Jonathan Mill, Ph.D. “Anxiety Sensitivity In Adolescence And Young Adulthood: The Role of Stressful Life Events, 5HTTLPR And Their Interaction.”Depression and Anxiety 29.5 (2012): 400-08. EBSCOhost. Web. 14 Oct. 2012.

Adolescence and Substance Abuse or Addiction

Adolescents, or teenagers, use drugs (prescription and illegal) and alcohol for many of the same reasons as adults. Most notably, the pleasure or euphoric feeling associated with use and as an escape from the stress and pressure of a situation or of life in general. Many students have even started using prescription drugs, such as Adderall and Ritalin. This paper will discuss the relationship between substance abuse or addiction and teenagers, and the affects this causes on their developing brain. In addition, information will be provided concerning how a healthy spiritual development can affect the likelihood of teen use, abuse, or addiction to drugs and alcohol. Finally, the national and local prevalence of adolescent addiction, and news coverage of adolescents and drug-related incidents in Knoxville, TN will be examined.

Adolescent Substance Abuse and Addiction


Alcohol seems to be the initial exposure to abuse and addiction among teenagers, particularly due to the fact that it is legal and more readily available than other substances. The Adolescent Health Facts (2012), which stated that 20% of high school students drank alcohol for the first time before the age of 13 in 2011. Furthermore, 40% of teens who drank, obtained alcohol through someone giving it to them. According to Feldman (2014), drinking, over a period of time, can lead to tolerance and diminished positive effects associated with consumption, which in turn leads to an increase in quantity of alcohol consumption in order to achieve those positive effects. Whether adolescents drink throughout the day or in binges, alcohol use becomes habitual for some teens and can lead to physical and psychological addiction when the habit cannot be controlled. According to Toor (2014), the majority of people, when asked, would state that marijuana is the gateway drug. Although, through his research, he found that “…teens who abused alcohol are twice as likely to abuse prescription opiate drugs, than those who only used marijuana”.

Legal and illegal drugs.

The use of legal and illegal drugs is increasingly problematic in adolescence. According to Feldman (2014), drug use and abuse among teenagers has become quite common, for instance “…one in 15 high school seniors smokes marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis”. The Adolescent Health Facts (2012) stated that in 2011, 40% of high school teens had used marijuana one or more times in their lives. In addition, from 2009 to 2010, 6% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 had used pain reliever for nonmedical reasons. Factors related to adolescent drug use include the use of drugs by celebrities and famous “role models” and peer pressure, but the newest reason for drug use is to enhance academic achievements (Feldman, 2014). Students are using prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin to increase focus and ability to study while enabling them to do so for long periods of time. Unfortunately, most legal and illegal drugs teenagers are using are highly addictive and can result in biological and psychological dependence (Feldman, 2014).

Affects the Developing Brain of Adolescent

Biological addiction to drugs causes physical, and possibly lasting, changes in the nervous system (Feldman, 2014). Uppers, such as amphetamines and cocaine, stimulate the central nervous system causing an increase in the chemical and electrical activity in the brain (Martin, 2014). The desired effects of these drugs is a product of the release of neurotransmitter called norepinephrine and epinephrine. The depletion and imbalance of theses neurotransmitters cause both physical and psychological problems. Downers, such as painkillers, sedatives, and alcohol, slow down the overall functioning of the central nervous system. The initial response to downers is similar to that of uppers, due to the lowering of inhibitions, but long term the drugs depress the central nervous system and cause negative side effects including impaired judgment and memory problems (Martin, 2014).

Effects of Spiritual Development

Spirituality has a place not only in the prevention of but also the treatment of substance abuse and addiction. According to Roehlkepartian et al. (2006), spiritual development is closely related to substance abuse and other mental health problems. Furthermore, spirituality is central to the genesis, course, and treatment of substance abuse. Miller et al. (2000) (as cited in Roelkepartian et al., 2006), stated that the essential spiritual contribution to mental illness, including substance abuse, has great magnitude in reference to protective qualities and spiritual devotion. Furthermore, this protective quality of spirituality against substance abuse suggests that treatments that draw one closer to a spiritual stance of living or a spiritual truth may be helpful in ensuring abstinence or aiding in recovery.

Drug-related News and Prevalence in East Tennessee

According to Lakin (2011), the warning heard by teenagers since before kindergarten just do not work. Juanita Boring, health-care coordinator at the Juvenile Detention Center in Knoxville stated, some adolescents start using drugs as early as 8 years old, starting with marijuana and graduating to prescription drugs over time. She goes on to say that most can name major pill brands like they would the days of the week. Will, a 17 year old inmate stated that fun turns into desperation fast, and trying pills offered by a friend turns into breaking into homes to make money for pills.

The Adolescent Health Facts (2012) stated that the prevalence of substance abuse in Tennessee was even with the overall national results with regard to the percentage of high school students that drank alcohol before the age of 13 and high school students that obtained their alcohol by someone giving it to them, and the percentage of 12 to 17 year olds who had used painkillers for nonmedical reasons from 2009 to 2010. There was a 2% decrease from the national percentage of high school students that had used marijuana at least once during their lifetime.


In conclusion, alcohol and drug abuse and/or addiction during adolescence has physical consequences and can be altered by positive spiritual development during that time. The relationship between teenagers and substance abuse is not much different from that of an adult. Fundamentally the positive and negative effects are the same. The impact of drugs and alcohol on the brain is a biological addiction in which there are changes to the central nervous system which leads to a necessity of the drug in order to maintain normalcy. Prevalence of substance abuse nationally and on a local level in East Tennessee is fairly equal, meaning there is much room for improvement. Future research relating to early childhood warnings with a spiritual context would be useful in developing updated programs and literature for awareness and deterrence.


Feldman, R. S. (2014). Development across the life span (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Lakin, M. (2011, November 1). Generation oxy: Pills attract, addict teens. Knoxnews,com. Retrieved from http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2011/nov/01/generation-oxy/ Salmaan Toor. (2014, February 11). Alcohol is the gateway drug, and we don’t seem to care. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.tfcknoxville.com/1/post/2014/02/alcohol-isthe-gateway-drug-and-we-dont-seem-to-care.html Roehlkepartain, E. C., King, P. E., Wagener, L., & Benson, P. L. (2006). The handbook of spiritual development in childhood and adolescence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health. Adolescent Health Facts. (2012). Substance abuse data for Tennessee. Retrieved from http://www.tfcknoxville.com/1/post/2014/02/alcohol-is-the-gateway-drug-and-we-dontseem-to-care.html

Understanding adolescence: Current developments in adolescent psychology

Children and young people in their life development pass through various stages that have mental problems. Some of these problems result from self-assessment about life. When one finds that the kind of life that he or she is living, is rather below her expectation tend to be faced by depression emotions that they seek to eliminate. In case from their thoughts one thinks that he or she is leading a life that is higher relatively to his or her friends, there is the likelihood of the person to grow to be proud. Mostly, the problems that affect family at a large in the children result from negative feelings about themselves. Some of the behaviours that young people develop through these development stages are such as disobedience, drug abuse, delayed duties, poor academic performances, and low self-esteem amongst other emotional problems (Freeman, 1985, p. 321).

From the case study, Ben is encountered undergoing psychological problem that have caused an alarm to the whole family. These problems are far from external causes, they are problems that he has built for himself through thought. He is pessimistic about the future and this has brought to him much stress, he sees no need to work hard in class work, he is engaged in drug and substance abuse and disobedient. Bad peer influence has contributed a lot in the behavioural changes of ben. The only remedy to ben’s problems is counsel him I an effort to input positive thought in his mind.

Systematic approach of tackling families and their children problems involve family based approach such as parent training. Parents could be trained on how to approach their children to realize their emotional problems they may be undergoing and try to reach them as per their capacity. The problem of drug abuse could be dealt with by parents’ commitment to free their children from drug abuse (Adams, 1968, p. 67). Parents create drug-free environment if they act as role models by not engaging in drug abuse. It will be very hard to convince a young person to refrain from drugs if you abuse drugs. In the case of Ben, his parents need to embrace a systematic psychology therapy to make him avoid being involved in drug abuse by acting as role models to him.

Central to the cognitive view of people is the idea that they are actively trying to make sense of their environment by imposing order and meaning in the things they encounter. Cognitive explanations of the behaviour are found within the ways in which Ben organise and process information that is relevant to the particular methods of acting. In the case study, we could only recognise the fate of Ben by engaging in efforts to study the causes of what make him behave in a differently way. The idea that Ben is born by old couple contributes and in addition, very busy parents, contributes to a lack of parental love.

Ben’s situation could also be analysed through creative approach. Creative approach in working with young people to build coherent intervention entails an analytical examination of the problems and gathering of various ideas about solving it. The ideas on how to solve the emotional problems could come from experience of the parent. The outcome of a particular psychological problem that Ben has ever been exposed to could guide his parents in solving a related matter at hand (Myers, 2004, p.266).

Integrating creative, cognitive behaviour and systematic approach comprises of merging all these three techniques of solving emotional problems, to a strong design of solving psychological problems. This model may take several routes in efforts to make it realistic. The very first plan in integration of different psychological approaches is common factors. The common factors plan of integration tries to judge the core elements that different approaches have in common.

The merit of common factors approach is that, it emphasis on therapeutic actions that have been demonstrated to be the most effective. This helps to analyse Ben’s emotional problem based on common elements found in all the three methods, therefore, more efficient model in working with Ben to build a coherent intervention (Neenam & Palmer, 2012, p. 56). Young people are taught in a way to conduct. By showing Ben on what is right and wrong, you build on his character. A good character is a great contribution to the society. Young people create the potential future generation and influencing a young person positively adds value in the generation to come.

The other method to psychological approach integration is through technical eclecticism. Through technical eclecticism, Ben’s parents are guided to picking what has worked best for others previously. In solving a mental problem, Ben’s parents would try to look at the past instances of a similar case and adopt the same model of resolution that was past adopted. The model could be improved if the latter situation is more complicated than the previous situation.

The improvement on the design of solving mental problems could be through buying more ideas from every psychological approach. The situation of poor academic performance by ben because of lack of positive attitude could be solving through both systematic and cognitive behavioural approach. Through cognitive behavioural approach, the parent would put himself in the standards of ben and class work through critically obtaining real facts from him, this would help to guide the parent come up with viable ideas about the problem resolution (Mclean & woody, 2001, p.671).

Theoretical integration focuses on merging all small elements of theories in each of the approach and tries to come up with one deep level design. This model arrived at, bears all material facts from all the methods and, therefore, more effective in solving emotional problems. It is believed to be effective than constituent therapies alone. Assimilative integration is another route in integrating different psychological approaches and therapies.

Assimilative integration is a model that would a view from either of the approach to deal with the current problem on the table. It is constructed by assimilating different ideas from different methods in one design that can solve a specific psychological problem.

Parental love enables children to grow healthy emotionally. It helps them avoid emotional worries about their love security. Any child, who grows up in an environment that lacks the touch of love, is likely to improve inhumane behaviours. Some of inhumane behaviour that a person may develop because of lack of parental love is such as misconduct for duty of care, high negligence and immoral behaviours.

Parental control to a child is very essential in the child’s development. Parental control contributes to instil moral virtues in a child, which he grows to mature while to recognize. From a research, psychologists argue that children that grow up under high control are more intelligent than those that grow in a less disciplined environment. This is true because disciplined children rarely waste time in unconstructive engagements; hence, they are more constructive in nature (Ginsberg, 1964, p.551).Ben is found in a family where he is the only child in their family. This has exposed ben to a lonely life. Because of the loneliness that he is undergoing, he suffers from increased mental thinking due to lack of business of friends to share with.

A lot of thought and quietness without a person to share with may amount to stress. A stressed person is prone to some illnesses such as low self-esteem; lack of appetite and poor performing habits is no someone to motivate him (Oxington, 2005, p.99). Systematic dealing of Ben’s loneliness life could help him. The remedy to a lonely life could be by providing a person with an interactive environment. Interactive environment social groups such as ball clubs, study groups, religious groups amongst the others. It is the responsibility of his parents to ensure that Ben interact with a peer group that impact positively to his life (Bierman, 2004, p. 178).

By integrating the cognitive behaviour, systematic and creative approaches in working with Ben, reliable model of solving psychological problem is realized. A model to solving a problem is said to be effective if it achieves its purpose in a way that it leaves no harm. A model also is said to be effective if it can achieve the target on which is set for without many struggles. An effective model is complex enough to reach all forms of psychological problems. From the case study we are provided with, parents to Ben think of visiting a psychiatrist to help them, solve the problem affecting their son. Ben bears the information that a psychiatrist would use to help Ben from his psychological problems. The parents can perform what the psychiatrist would perform only that they need technological skills to conduct it. Through systematic approach of psychology, parents ought to be trained on how to face and solve psychological problems facing Ben. Parental training is a systematic approach psychological treatment of problem solving techniques.

An integrated psychological model covers the whole range of therapeutic models and professionalism. Psychological treatment provision is a multi-professional and multi-agency endeavour. Psychiatrist, psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors, nurses, social workers and many other organizations are involved all of whom need to communicate and coordinate effectively with one another. Psychological therapies are fundamental to primary mental health care and can make a highly significant contribution to the user satisfaction. Its recommendations are based on the range of well-established scientific evidence but also on professional consensus and views of service users (Feinstem & Kuumba, 2006, p. 249).

It would be a good idea to visit a psychiatrist on a psychological problem. One of the main characteristics of a managed counselling service is that it can be proactive in helping the psychological counselling and testing to conduct health needs assessments and implement the changes to services required, as a result of it (Hearley, 2012, p.107). In other words, if counselling is in the system it can be effective both clinically and organizationally.

However, paradoxically, if there is a lack of counselling services not even an embryonic condition for such, there is often an absence of knowledge at the strategic level about the basic principles of treatment. Psychology and counselling are different professions. Counselling service managers can equally lead the provision of integrated psychological therapy services in primary care or remain in parallel arm (Dorfman & hersen, 2001, p. 455). Although, there is professional difference between psychology and counselling, their main goal is almost the same. Psychiatrists are psychology professionals that help one restore his or her normal state of performance and perception of various issues.

It is important to note that Ben has engaged in some practices because of the impact from peers. Some practices such as drugs and substance abuse are adopted due to influence from other people. Ben has engaged in drug abuse to keep in touch with his friends, keeping away from them and not supporting would mean, unfriending them. Friends fill up the lives with joy, acceptability and self-confidence.

Friends are the source of motivation and power to lead a happy life, nevertheless friendship at time may be running. Ben and his friends engage themselves in drug abuse as a way of passing their leisure time. This bad practice results from efforts to keep friends. It is the mandate of the parents to observe the company of friends that Ben interact with and pass to him a word of advice if necessary. If the friendship is constructive, show parental support on it, if the friendship behaves kind it is destructive, the parents should immediately discourage it (Granot, 2005, p. 115).

By integrating different psychological methods, a design that is cost effective is achieved. The model is said to be cost effective if it is considerate in nature. Both the Ben’s parent and psychiatrist that are using the model should experience a mutual benefit from it. No party, either that seeks to help or the one that utilise the model to support should be in the worse side. The design is flexible enough if it is able to reach all the parties efficiently at their standards. Any matters arising during problem solving, should as well have their appropriate way of dealing with them. This is all that comprises of an efficient model (Cain, 1969, p.23).

Creativity borrows a lot from psychology. Cognitive psychologist tries to build up cognitive models of the information processing that goes on inside people’s mind. A cognitive model of the memory system would suggest that it has two main components, one for dealing with the information that we need to process now. This brain based psychology where psychiatrist tries to measure your brain level of adopting things. It is after this critical brain analysis that the psychologist gets to know how to approach Ben in different brain dealings (Sigston, 1996, p 103).

A clear strength of the cognitive behavioural therapy approach to depression is its grounding in cognitive theory of depression that has been subject to extensive empirical testing over several decades. This has brought the original theory into focus and led to important elaborations and changes (Luxmoore, 2006. P. 17). The cognitive model of depression that contextualizes cognitive behavioural therapy exemplifies the diathesis, stress approach to psychopathology. This is one of the best methods in dealing with stress, as searches for the reason of depression in an individual. Cognitive model tries to examine the sources of the stress to an individual after which it gathers information about on various solutions to the stress.

In the case study, Ben is face within a situation full of depression. The pressure on ben is because of the parental requirement from him that he struggles to reach. Another source of depression comes in where he tries to impress his friends at the expense of his morality. That does not close the list of Ben in terms of being stressed up; Ben is in a depression following poor academic performance in the class. Poor academic performance is caused by being not very serious with his class duties due to engagement in some unproductive activities. Cognitive behavioural approach would guide his parent to try to create a positive attitude in ben that would enable him have a positive attitude toward his undertakings.

Unhealthy social conduct amounts to a psychological problem. This could be dealt with by integrating the three approaches to psychology. An integrated model has all the appropriate ways in ensuring a well Ben’s psychological environment is maintained. By adopting an integrated model that combines the three approaches to solving psychological problems affecting Ben, an efficient way of tackling with social misconducts is realized. It is very vital to note that for a goal to be achieved effort must be made. In solving Ben’s psychological problem, it is very important to create a conducive environment for implementing measures to solve the problem.

Creation of a good environment is achieved by equipping oneself with the entire facts amount to the source of psychological problems. It is also appropriate to approach Ben wisely. Every person does not want be seen as problematic even he or she is in a problem. One best method of creating a conducive environment in Ben is by showing him how importance he is. Once Ben is told about his necessity in the society, it becomes very easily to attack him. By attacking Ben, it means to put effort in counselling or executing the most appropriate measure in solving the psychological problem affecting Ben. For an objective to be achieved, there is should a mechanism to achieve the goal. This mechanism comprises of the method to follow in reaching the solution of the problem.

By integrating approaches to understanding psychological matters, it creates effective models in solving psychological problems that affect Ben. It is easy to approach Ben for correction than an adult. Young people are quick learners and hence, they grasp things at a higher level as compared to the older ones. When it comes to parental guidance, use of disciplinary measures that are fierce is also encouraged; some children and young people are very naughty to change from a bad behaviour. In such a situation, a parent is advice to put into measures things as punishment in controlling the behaviour of their children (Morgan, 1991, p.113). Through correcting children by punishment, they learn faster on how to avoid such a mistake again, unlike just by a mere word of mouth. Due to fear of undergoing punishment, it would very hard for Ben to repeat the same mistake.

The usefulness of integrating cognitive behavioural, systematic and creative approaches in working with Ben to build a coherent intervention has a great contribution in improving his life. It tries to come up with different and effective approaches to deal with psychological problems affecting Ben. Nevertheless, improved models of dealing with psychological problems may fail at times; this is because some psychological problems have some source in biological development of a person. As a young person develops, especially in adolescent, he may develop another psychological problem such as pride that is very hard to deal within integrated cognitive behavioural, systematic and creative approaches.

The growth of cognitive behavioural perspective reflects the impact of a more generally cognitive view of psychology. The cognitive approach focuses on how our behaviour is affect, by the way, in which we take in, mentally represent, process, and store information. Psychologists who take a cognitive approach suggest that there be several ways, in which children learn to be aggressive. Children may see others being reward for acting aggressively and then might be rewarded themselves for doing the same.

Aggressiveness might also be more likely if a child constantly hears that other people can be dangerous and that aggression is the only way to deal with threats, disagreements and another conflict situation. In dealing with the emotional problems affecting Ben, it will be vital to try to examine his logical understanding of the issues; this would help to try change Ben’s way of perceiving an understanding some life aggregate issues (Ashworth, 2000, p.253).

Cognitive approach in solving a mental problem has a significant contribution in decision. It could help Ben change a negative mentality to a positive and composed mind. Psychologist who takes a cognitive approach suggests that mental processes help us to understand many kinds of individual and social behaviours, from decision-making and problem solving to interpersonal attraction and intelligence. The cognitive approach is especially important in the field of cognitive science, in which researchers from psychology and philosophy study intelligent systems in the human (Gallagler, 2011, p 13). Generally, cognitive approach refers to those therapeutic techniques aiming to change or modify Ben’s thoughts or beliefs. Beliefs are assumptions about life values that a person creates.


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