Adolescents are attempting to find their own identity, struggling with social interactions, and wrestling with moral issues. The primary task of an adolescent is to discover their identity separate from their family and as a member of their community.
During this stage, young women are typically fully developed. Young men continue to gain height, weight, muscle mass, and body hair. They are gaining the ability to think through their ideas and articulate their thoughts.
During late adolescence, the ability to make independent decisions is well developed. You may also notice a more developed sense of humor. They are far more able to delay gratification. They spend time examining their inner experiences and often have an increased concern for their futures. They feel greater independence, self-reliance, pride in their work, and they have more defined work habits.
People in late adolescence have a greater ability to regulate their own self-esteem. Just as in earlier stages, they have a continued interest in their moral reasoning. By late adolescence, they are gaining a firmer sense of their identity. Their emotional stability should increase at this time. Late adolescents have increased concern for others. Peer relationships remain important during this stage. More serious relationships likely develop at this time as late adolescents attempt to find mutually satisfying relationships. Social and cultural traditions regain some of their importance. Late adolescents who are not successful during this stage sometimes feel isolated and distance themselves from others.
Common reasons for seeking treatment:
- Significant decline in school performance
- Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
- Significant changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
- Extreme difficulties concentrating
- Sexual acting out
- Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude, often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping, thoughts of death
- Severe mood swings
- Strong worries that get in the way of daily life such as at school or with peers
- Repeated use of alcohol and/or drugs
- Intense fear of becoming obese with the relationship to actual body weight, excessive dieting, throwing up, or using laxatives to lose weight
- Persistent nightmares
- Threats of self-harm or harm to others
- Self-injury or self-destructive behavior
- Frequent outbursts of anger, aggression
- Repeated threats to run away
- Aggressive or nonaggressive consistent violations of rights of others, opposition to authority, truancy, theft, or vandalism
- Strange thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or unusual behaviors