Depression in Adolescents Term Paper

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Depression Caused by Steroid Use as a Factor in School Discipline Problems

Anabolic steroid use represents the newest trend substance abuse by adolescents. Teens take steroids to enhance their performance in sports and other activities. However, the affects of anabolic steroids go beyond the immediate performance enhancing affects. Anabolic steroids are connected with increased aggression, depression, as well as major health problems later in life. This research will examine the use of anabolic steroids and the propensity towards discipline problems in the school system, particularly those involving violent acts towards other students and staff members.

Anabolic steroids have become the substance of choice for a growing number of teens. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 of all eighth -tenth grade students use anabolic steroids on a regular basis (Melloni, 2006). Anabolic steroids can only be obtained by prescription in the U.S., but this does not prevent teens from obtaining them through sources shipped into other countries and then struggled across the border (Gober, et al., 2006). Anabolic steroids, in combination with exercise and proper diet can promote increased size and strength of muscles (Gober, et al., 2006).

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The ability to enhance workouts and achieve faster results is a key factor in the attractiveness of anabolic steroids by teens. Steroids also decrease recovery time between workouts as well (Gober, et al., 2006). Anabolic steroids work in a similar way to the body's natural muscle building mechanism, but this does not mean that they are safe. The negative affects of anabolic steroid use, especially for teens are key reasons for discouraging the use of them by teens (Gober, et al., 2006).

Term Paper on Depression in Adolescents Assignment

Teen bodies are in a state of transition, often resulting in rapidly fluctuating hormone levels. Hormone levels particularly volatile in the teen years. Anabolic steroids produce many symptoms such as a sense of euphoria, increased energy, sexual arousal, forgetfulness and the inability to concentrate (Gober, et al., 2006). This is only the short list of potential affects on the developing teen. These symptoms can be minor, or they can impact the ability of the teen to interact in social settings (Gober, et al., 2006). Steroid use can have a devastating impact on the teen, their family and those around them.

It is the ability of steroids to affect a teen's social interactions and decision-making ability that are of interest in this research study. As a guidance counselor, one of our key jobs is to help teens that are having difficulty with social interactions adjust and learn to have successful social interactions. Anabolic steroid use causes many changes in the adolescent body that can be linked to maladjustment in the school setting. This study will examine the connection between anabolic steroid use and the tendency towards disciplinary actions at school.

Research Problem

Anabolic steroid use is not only a significant problem for the individual teen, but it is problematic for the school system due to the potential for increased aggression, depression, and suicidal tendencies. It is the objective of the school system goes beyond academics. It is the objective of the school to make certain that adolescents grow into responsible adults ready to take on the problems of the world that they will confront. Anabolic steroid can have an affect on the student's academic ability and their ability to learn social skills that will help them to achieve their goals. Anabolic steroid use prevents teens from realizing their maximum potential in the future. This is the key problem that will be addressed by the proposed research study. The study will focus on determining if a definitive connection exists between anabolic steroid use and disciplinary actions in the school system.

Significance of the Problem

This research problem and proposed study are important for many persons involved in helping teens develop into happy, productive adults. This study will examine the impact that steroid use has on the likelihood that the teen will be prone to disciplinary problems in the school setting. It will not only help guidance counselors and other mental health professionals to recognize students that may be at risk for developing behavioral problems in school, it will help them to devise a plan to help treat them. It is important to recognize the importance that anabolic steroid use has on teens and their ability to function socially. Understanding the connection between anabolic steroid use and guidance problems is an important step to the development of interventions to help prevent anabolic steroid use from becoming problematic for the teen.

Literature Review wealth of literature exists regarding anabolic steroids and their affects on adolescent development. Literature regarding anabolic steroid use focuses on several major areas. One can find a wealth of information on the medical aspects of anabolic steroid use. This body of literature includes everything from the endocrine aspects, neurological aspects and the affects on various neurotransmitters. A significant body of academic research also exists on various aspects of treating anabolic steroid use. This study will only utilize information from credible academic journals published in the past five years as the basis for the research study.

Academic literature currently focuses on the long-term affects of anabolic steroid use among teens. Current research demonstrates that the aggression experienced by those taking anabolic steroids may cause changes in the brain that result in aggressive tendencies long after the steroid use is discontinued (Melloni, 2006). The same study found that changes in aggression rose and fell with neurotransmitter levels in the aggression control region of the brain (Melloni, 2006). Although this study used hamsters as the subjects, it is suspected that similar affects are seen in human steroid users due to numerous similarities between the rodent and human nervous systems (Melloni 2006). In this study, the aggressive affects of the steroids lasted as long as two weeks after the substance was discontinued. It was suggested that long-term use and use at the right time, might lead to permanent brain changes.

Anabolic steroid use may be particularly dangerous for adolescents. Teen bodies are undergoing hormonal changes that can be erratic at times. Testosterone is one of the key hormones responsible for the development of muscles mass, particularly for boys. Taking steroids can boost testosterone levels, creating a volatile situation in terms of mood and other normal developmental factors (Gober, et al., 2006). Anabolic steroids also affect cortisol levels, which can cause a variety of emotional reactions including aggression, and depression (Gober, et al., 2006). It is difficult to predict the reactions of anabolic steroids in the adolescent body, much more so than in adults. This is one of the key reasons for continuing to fight against anabolic steroid use in teens.

Anabolic steroids can have many unwanted physical affects on the teen, including aggressive tendencies, suicidal tendencies, and other harmful psychological affects (Gober, et al., 2006). Anabolic steroids may intensify existing psychological conditions. They have been shown to increase impulsive behavior, as well as paranoid delusions (Gober, et al., 2006). Mood changes occur within days of initiating anabolic steroid use and can last for some time after their use is stopped, indicating that the residual affect may be due to permanent structural and chemical changes in the brain. Anabolic steroid use has been associated with low self-esteem (Gober, et al., 2006).

One of the key questions plaguing researchers trying to unravel the anabolic steroid question is whether anabolic steroids can cause psychological conditions in teens that did not have preexisting psychological conditions prior to beginning steroid use. The literature was inconclusive in this respect. It concluded that psychological conditions are associated with anabolic steroid use, but it was unable to reach consensus as to the direction of causality in this case. It may that certain psychological conditions predispose a teen to use anabolic steroids and it may be that anabolic steroid use causes the psychological condition, the literature review was unclear as to the direction of the causes and symptoms associated with anabolic steroid use.

Teens face social adversity on a continuing basis. Research indicates that social adversity is a factor that can be associated with the development of psychological problems. The onset of problems can be fast or slow, depending on the degree of adversity and the number of variables present (Goodyer, 2002). This study will consider the amount of adversity in a teen's life in an attempt to determine whether adversity affects the propensity towards disciplinary problems or if adversity and steroid use function independently to affect a teens' ability to cope.

Aside from anabolic steroids, teens also use many supplements, such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), that are available over the counter. This group of substances is not considered a steroid in itself, but is one of the precursors to the production of natural steroids by the body. DHEA and other substances like it form the building blocks of steroidal production and are sometimes used in lieu of the steroids themselves. The affects of these substances is similar to taking actual steroids, yet these substances are readily available through pharmacies (Fish, Goldberg, & Spratt, 2005).

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