Adolescence is a time of “storm and strife”. Adolescence is a period of time between childhood and adulthood. This is the age when one can either make something of his life or destroy it all, this is the time when a person makes those friends who changes the how he looks at life and how he faces it. An adolescent’s main goal these days is to fit in and not be different from their peers. In this paper I will explore the probabilities of the following grievances experienced by the adolescent youth which are drugs, suicide, and homelessness.
Adolescence is the developmental stage between childhood and adulthood; it generally refers to a period ranging from teen years through 20s. As now life is growing more complex, however, adolescents are increasingly cut off from the activities of their elders, leaving most young people with education as their sole occupation. Inexorably, this has isolated many of them from the adult world and has prolonged their adolescence. Now almost all over the world the adolescent years have become marked by violence to an alarming degree. The phenomenon of teenage suicide has become particularly disturbing, but risk-taking behaviors of many sorts can be observed, including alcohol and drug abuse.
Adolescents only want to have fun and go to parties. They get addicted to drugs and start to revolve their lives around drugs. Some get arrested and others encounter death. Addiction is so powerful that it takes control of people’s brains and only tells them to do wrong. Drugs are highly Addictive, and most of the adolescents main goal is to fit in the group by doing what the whole group does, this is how they get into crack, booze, pot and crystal. Dr. Nowinski’s book in which he states his study of Adolescents drugs and addicts describes specific cases of adolescent drug abuse that he has worked with. He describes the different patterns of adolescent drug abuse and the causes of such type of abuse. He describes causes like alienation, low self-esteem and confidence, stress, and peer pressure. He goes into how developments of new treatment techniques are necessary because adolescent addictions are different from those of adults. He describes the process of counseling, denial and compliance, and surrender and recovery. Nowinski stresses the need for family intervention in cases that involve adolescents. Addiction is the disease that eventually starts to plague the adolescents that decide to take the wrong path. Addiction lurks up on anyone putting aside race, age, or gender because this disease does not care. Adolescents are not aware of the consequences of drugs and have a hard time listening to their elders, since they think their all night parties in which drugs and alcohol booms are safe until someone dies or they are confronted by the law. These parties take place in warehouses, outdoor recreation areas or any place where more than 1,000 young people can gather. At these kind of parties the trance music is played which is a composition of electronic sounds driven into shape by a DJ. Adolescents see these things just as fun; and do not understand that this road reaches nowhere. In time, this behavior becomes a way of every day life and causes in most case a lot of pain for the adolescent. This is where the disease of addiction takes over an adolescent’s body and controls it until someone helps him or her out of it. The sad part is that most of the time help is given forcefully by the law or even by death. (New York Times, 1997) (Fort 209-215) Eventually after all the consequences occur treatment and rehabilitation is needed if death did not already occur. Adolescents need to hear stories and be able relate themselves with the stories. All the commercials and adults talking in schools do not helps our society out of this. Adolescents anyhow do not listen and still do what they want not realizing the results.
Adolescent Suicide is a result of frustration and negligence because there is a lot to live for. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. “Suicide is now the third leading cause of death for people 15 to 24 (behind accidents and homicide), and the sixth leading cause of death for adolescents 5 to 14.” (Miller) Adolescent suicide is now responsible for more teen deaths than cardiovascular diseases or cancer. The suicide rate for adolescents has increased more than 200% over the last decade. Adolescent Suicide is a type of Adolescent Depression. Recent studies show that more than one fifth of adolescents have emotional problems and one-third of adolescents who attends psychiatric clinic go under depression. The primary care physician with the support of the family can effectively take the majority of adolescent depression, says Maurice Blackman MB, FRCPC. Adolescence is a time of emotional instability, gloomy introspection, great drama, and discriminating sensitivity. The psychiatrist challenge is to identify depressive symptoms that may be superimposed on the milieu of a more evanescent, but anticipated developmental storm. It is common for adolescent to be preoccupied with issues of death and to consider the effect their death would have on close family and friends. Luckily, these ideas are habitually not acted upon. Suicidal acts are generally associated with intense crisis in the adolescent’s life and may involve linked depression. It is important to stress that the crisis may be insignificant to the adults around, but very significant to the teenager. The losses of a boyfriend or girlfriend, a drop in school marks or negative reprimands by a significant adult, predominantly a parent or teacher, may be precipitant to a suicidal act. Suicidal acts are more common among adolescents who have already experienced major stress in their lives. Major stress includes parent discord, being physically or sexually abused and alcohol or drug abuse. A suicide of close relative or confidant may also be an important identifier of those at the greatest risk, as when a teen commits suicide, it affects the whole community that they live in as well as their family. When a family member commits suicide, the whole family must grieve and show their emotions openly. The worst possible thing to do is to hold all of the emotions inside the body. The teenager who exhibits very clear character alter, including backing up from society, or who gives away cherished belongings may also be seriously contemplating ending his or her life. Many adolescents try to commit suicide than who actually succeed, and the methods used may be unfledged. There is a propensity to treat alleged minor attempts as attention seeking, theatrical and of no importance. This is a mistake, as a teenager who has attempted suicide and has not received any relief from his or her unfeasible circumstances may well be a thriving repeater. All with nothing-to-live-for behaviors reflect a cry for help and must be taken seriously. Showing adolescents that you care about them is quite possibly all that they need to prevent them from becoming a statistic in the agonizing story of adolescent suicide.
No one is satisfied with what he has, an average person complains at least 50 times a day about his life, most of them have loving families, and good homes and almost all they need. Now, think of the stress on a homeless adolescent. School does not seem to be an easy place for homeless adolescents. The peers do not except homeless adolescents and therefore practically all suffer from low self – esteem. Adolescents who share their room with their entire family or adolescents who share room with many other adolescents lack privacy and have limited space for all sort of activities. Therefore, they are tending to become aggressive in nature. Adolescents who often change schools lack both structure and permanence in their lives, and may be unwilling to make close friends. Adolescents who have to keep moving have no sense of roots, personal space, or possessions. School is just one of the many places where homeless adolescents have trouble in. Many homeless adolescents find that exchanging sex for food, clothing, and shelter they are only chance for survival on the streets. Moreover, homeless youth are at a greater risk of contracting AIDS or HIV-related illnesses. Homeless adolescents often undergo from harsh nervousness and depression, poor health and sustenance, and low self-esteem. Therefore, more than half of homeless adolescents will die before the age of 19. Accidentally before starting writing on this topic I read a story of a man who used to live on streets and after his hardwork throughout the life he is now a millionaire and helps homeless people now. It just goes to show that there are all types of people on the streets. Maybe the next Mozart sleeps in a refrigerator box. Possibly, the next Hitler eats out of a garbage dump. In spite of the fact that we still can not state a solution, for homelessness, but we can say that all the adolescents out there with no homes deserve at least a chance to become something.
In conclusion I’d just like to state that adolescence is a period when an individual can either make or mar his future. Adolescence is a time when an adolescent gets easily carried away by all the things he is exposed to. Sometimes an adolescent seeks for easy way out of what all goes on and gets involved with pot, crack and booze. This happens when he faces negligence, stress and group pressure and sometimes due to these factors they also choose the option of ending their life. This is the time when people start facing real challenges of life. There are many homeless adolescents which r given proper care and guidance while this period of their life and they fall prey to all kind of crimes. This is period when people should take control of their life. This is where the most of them lose their path, and gets attracted towards all sorts of things , i.e. why this period of life is called a period of “storm and strife”.
Blackman, M. (1995, May). The Canadian Journal of CME [Internet]. HTTP: http://www.mentalhealth.com/mag1/p51-dp01.html.
Brown, A. (1996). NARSAD Research Newsletter [Internet]. HTTP: http://www.mhsource.com/advocacy/narsad/childmood.html.
Cohen, S. (1969). The Drug Dilemma. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Book Company.
Fort, Joel (1969). The Pleasure Seekers. New York, NY: The Bobbs-Merrill Company.
Miller, M. (1996). An Outreach division of the Attorney General of the State of Arkansas. [Internet]. HTTP: http://www.ag.state.ar.us/advscripts/teensuicide/teensuicide.asp
National Coalition for the Homeless (1998, October). Homeless Families with Children NCH Fact Sheet #7.