Psychology: Population of Choice

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Population Description

The selected population for this study is adolescent. Nearly one out of five adolescents shows signs of diagnosable mental health disorder (Schwarz, 2009). Specifically, anxiety and depression have been determined as the most common in almost one third of adolescents. It is imperative to note that warning signs for mental conditions in adolescents are not always noticeable. Nevertheless, affected adolescents may display persistent anger, social withdrawal, irritability and abnormal changes in sleep and eating habits.

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Mental health disorders in adolescents affect normal lifestyle, and they may be reflected in poor school performance, social relations and in some instances, they could lead to suicide (Schwarz, 2009). Stigma has been a major factor that inhibits adolescents from seeking professional help. However, effective treatments are available for affected teens.

The Cause of Anxiety

No single cause of anxiety has been determined. Instead, several factors have been identified as causes or risk factors for anxiety. Genetic factors are responsible for anxiety in adolescent, for instance, “children born to anxious parents are themselves more likely to be anxious” (Piacentini & Roblek, 2002, p. 149). In addition, environmental factors have also been attributed to anxiety in adolescents. They include parenting styles and relationships with parents. Currently, modern technologies have facilitated research to determine other factors responsible for anxiety across all age groups and create more awareness about the disorder.

Brain chemistry related to chemicals of the brain, which are often caused by imbalances could also cause anxiety. In this case, drug abuse has been the major prevalent factor associated with anxiety in adolescents.

The Cause of Panic

The exact cause of panic in adolescent is not yet known (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Nevertheless, there are several theories to explain potential causes of the disorder. Many mental disorder experts have demonstrated that strong genetic factors are responsible for initiating and sustaining panic disorders. Adolescents with immediate family members such as parents, siblings and even grandparents with panic disorders are also most likely to experience the same disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). In fact, their exposure rate is eight times relative to normal individuals. Another cause of panic disorder is attributed to environmental factors. Extreme experiences from the environment are most likely to contribute to panic disorders in adolescents. In addition, extreme social experiences may also cause panic disorder in this population (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

The Cause of PTSD

Nearly any traumatic events can cause PTSD. Traumatic events are experiences that are life-threatening or have extreme consequences on emotional and physical health of a person (Ahmed, 2007). In most cases, these experiences may result in fears. Such life-threatening experiences that cause PTSD may also be witnessed. In fact, witnessing severe accidents or physical insults, medical conditions, kidnapping, torture, war experiences and natural disasters are all contributing factors to PTSD. In addition, individuals who have witnessed terrorist attacks, sexual assaults, robbery and other violent crimes may also develop PTSD. Further, PTSD results from the environment and social experiences such as divorce. In most cases, adolescents are expected to show history of PTSD. However, it is imperative to recognize that individuals with such a condition may develop it during a lifetime when they react to adverse events.

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The Cause of Dissociative Disorders

Adolescents who develop dissociative disorders normally strive to cope with traumatic experiences (Schacter, Gilbert, & Wegner, 2011). In most cases, dissociative disorder may develop in early stages of life, specifically in children subjected to long-term sexual, physical, emotional and mental abuse. In addition, an environment, including home that is threatening to children could make them to develop the disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

Stress experienced from wars or other natural disasters may also be responsible for dissociative disorders. During childhood, individuals develop personality identity. Trauma may take effects on children during this period. Nevertheless, adolescents may learn to dissociate so that they can cope with their situations and develop enduring abilities. Hence, they may apply these experiences to manage their conditions in such environments (Ahmed, 2007).

Treatment for Anxiety

Medical interventions are available to treat anxiety. Most common drugs for managing anxiety include antidepressants. It is imperative to note that several medications are available to treat anxiety, but their effects vary from one person to another.

Psychological counseling such as Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been effective in managing anxiety. These interventions strive to identify and transform the patients’ thinking patterns and behaviors with regard to anxiety. In some instances, individuals may engage in self-treatment, especially when the condition is not severe. Self-treatment may involve relaxation exercises.

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It is shown that a combination of treatment methods to treat anxiety may deliver the best outcomes (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). However, treatments are influenced by several factors, including causes and patients’ preferences. Other factors such as drug abuse and alcoholism may influence interventions and it is advisable to intervene when these conditions are under control.

Treatment for Panic

Failure to determine the exact cause of panic among individuals has affected treatment too. On this note, treatment for panic has been different for patients. Medication however is the most common form of treatment. It has been used to prevent and/or offer immediate relief for majorities who may experience immediate panic attacks.

Psychological interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have been effective in managing anxiety. These interventions strive to identify and transform the patients’ thinking patterns and behaviors with regard to anxiety. In some instances, individuals may engage in self-treatment, especially when the condition is not severe. Self-treatment may involve relaxation exercises. In addition, relaxation interventions also help in cooling the muscles. The use of drugs to treat panic may not be the best option (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

Treatment for PTSD

The most common form of treatment for PTSD is counseling, and many forms of counseling are available to treat PTSD. These therapies include cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy helps individuals to manipulate and change their thought patterns. In this manner, individuals can avoid thoughts that are not real and control ones responsible for PTSD. There is also exposure therapy in which a therapist encourages patients to talk about their condition more often until they develop less fear. Finally, Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is also shown to be effective. EMDR ensures that patients can talk about their conditions while engaged in distraction such as hand movements (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

Medications may be used to alleviate known conditions. Effectiveness of these medications may differ significantly.

Treatment for Dissociative Disorders

The best available treatment for dissociative disorders is psychotherapy (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Psychotherapy for dissociative disorders is known as talk therapy, psychosocial therapy or counseling. The clinician encourages patients to talk about their conditions and any other issues related to mental health.

The therapist helps individuals to talk about their issues and comprehend the major cause of the disorder. As a result, individuals are encouraged to develop new coping skills. With time, patients are encouraged to talk more about their experiences. Talking however requires the patient and therapist to have a good relationship to allow the patient to talk comfortably.

Specifically, no medications exist for treating dissociative disorders. However, patients may use prescribe antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or antipsychotic medications to assist them to cope with mental challenges (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

Anxiety: Gender and cultural influences

The most common cases of anxiety have been reported in adolescents, specifically in girls relative to boys (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). In fact, the rates of prevalence are high compared to younger age groups. However, these rates are less when compared to adults. It is also imperative to recognize that the actual rates could be difficult to determine because research methodologies are always changing with new tools or diagnostic methods. Children have significantly lower rates.

The problem differs from culture to culture. However, there are certain characteristics that make people more prone to anxiety (Simon & Zieve, 2013). For instance, low levels of education and socioeconomic status are known to go beyond gender and culture differences. In addition, such conditions are most likely to progress into adulthood among the evaluated cases.

Panic: Gender and cultural influences

It has been observed that girls are at high risks for panic disorders relative to boys. In fact, the risk for adolescent girls is twice that of boys (Simon & Zieve, 2013). Several factors have been attributed to such risks, including socio-cultural pressures from peers. Consequently, they are most likely to strive to meet needs of society and peers. In addition, there are few reported cases because of self-restriction.

Some forms of panic disorders may be detected early in childhood while others can only be noticed in adolescence. In this case, alienation is known to increase risks.

It is noted that racial minorities have significantly high rates of panic compared to other races. Thus, panic disorders are most likely to be common in adolescent girls from racial minorities.

PTSD: Gender and cultural influences

It has been noted that girls are at high risks for PTSD relative to boys. In fact, the risk for adolescent girls is twice that of boys (Simon & Zieve, 2013). Several factors have been attributed to such risks, including other variables in socio-cultural contexts. In addition, studies reflect that young people, particularly women are at higher risks for PTSD relative to adults.

The influence of culture on PTSD is not clear. However, culture could influence the outcomes in individuals of different races who experience similar traumatic events. Some cultures are more susceptible to such stress while others have developed strong coping mechanisms. Hence, cultural differences may be noticed. In addition, history may also influence outcomes of PTSD in individuals. Thus, different experiences have greater roles than cultural orientations.

Dissociative Disorders: Gender and cultural influences

It is noted that dissociative disorders is predominantly common in girls relative to boys. In fact, studies have approached dissociative disorders by focusing more on women relative to their male counterparts (Schacter et al., 2011). However, one must recognize that biological factors alone cannot be used to determine mental illnesses in people. The conditions may be acquired in childhood and persist into adulthood.

Social-cultural factors also play significant roles in determining dissociative disorders. In this case, women tend to be more affected by such factors relative to men. This could assist in explaining the high rates of dissociative disorders in girls than in boys.

While culture has a role to play about exposure and resilient, it is difficult to determine how far it can influence dissociative disorders because it is not well studied or understood across various groups.


Ahmed, A. (2007). Post-traumatic stress disorder, resilience and vulnerability. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 13, 369-375.

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Piacentini, J., & Roblek, T. (2002). Recognizing and treating childhood anxiety disorders. Western Journal Medicine, 176(3), 149–151.

Schacter, D. L., Gilbert, D. T., & Wegner, D. (2011). Psychology (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Worth.

Schwarz, S. W. (2009). Adolescent mental health in the United States: Facts for Policymakers

Simon, H., & Zieve, D. (2013). Panic Disorder. The New York Times. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Psychology: Population of Choice." July 10, 2022.

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PsychologyWriting. "Psychology: Population of Choice." July 10, 2022.