Before we start delving into the hormones that have a lot to do with our emotions and moods let us first understand the difference between “Puberty” and “Adolescence”. Puberty is a physical process where a child’s body changes and matures into an adult capable of sexual reproduction. Adolescence is an evolving stage of physical and psychological development that generally happens during puberty till the adulthood.
There is lot of change in the behavior of a teenager and most often these behaviors, like aggression, high risk behavior are often associated with the surging hormones that send the signals from the brain to the gonads, or the sex glands. These hormones signal the brain which in turn stimulates the sexual desire. Mostly these behavioral changes have been attributed to puberty and the changing hormones. However, adolescent behavior is not just an act of surging hormones but it also depends on the person’s psychological, social, educational environment. It also differs from country to country depending upon the prevalent culture there. Adolescence is the time when apart from the physical changes a person’s ability to think abstractly and multi-dimensionally increases. A time of increased independence allowed by the family and the society, new privileges’ like driving license, voting, finishing certain levels of education, etc. An experiment on hamsters, showed behavioral changes were similar in hamsters that attained puberty at different times. This also points to the fact our thoughts about pubertal hormones responsible for the changes are not entirely correct. Understanding the underlying mechanism will help us understand the reason behind several mental disorders that arise during this crucial period of life.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena