In the modern world, there are a whole host of emerging problems for teenagers that parents and teachers are struggling to deal with. Although these issues have existed for a long time, with the rise of social media, mental health problems have become more of a prevalent concern high year after year. Yet, with the recognition of such issues comes a new wave of possible solutions which differ from the traditional route of medication. When you know what to look out for, finding a solution to any health problem becomes an easier task, so make sure you take note of what you can do to help those teens closest to you.
There has been a misconception for some time that eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia are solely physical health problems, and while they do have profound physical effects, the root cause often lies with mental health problems. Rarely will these disorders come about from malnutrition. Many teenagers will be faced with symptoms of Body Dysmorphia growing up, but this is being exacerbated by access to social media, which continually portrays the ‘ideal’ body image. Despite efforts to encourage body positivity online, such disorders have not disappeared, as many can be traced back to OCD and Depression. If you are concerned about someone you know, keep an eye on changes in their weight and irritability before stepping in to help.
It would also be naïve to suggest that obesity was not an eating disorder, but therein lies a new problem to losing an excessive amount of weight. However, the root causes of obesity can be linked to mental health issues. As with any eating disorder, broaching the subject can be difficult, due to the changing emotions a teen could be going through. The important thing to remember is that while Anorexia can cause your body to shut down, so can obesity, and the health of your teenager is paramount to them getting better. If you can, start introducing subtle ways of eating better into the household or go on walks as a family. Providing them with a shoulder to cry on, as well as a helping hand will do immeasurable good in the long run, even if it doesn’t feel like that, to begin with.
Depression can often be hard to spot in teenagers when it is sometimes hard to distinguish from the usual mood swings that come with hormonal changes in the body. Yet, there are important differences you should look out for. Irritability, oversleeping, loss of appetite, and signs of self-harm are all symptoms you should look out for if you are concerned. Although it may be hard for you to understand, it doesn’t mean their feelings are invalid when they are struggling with often detrimental inner turmoil. Contrary to popular belief, depression does not traditionally only arise in those who have obvious struggles to deal with, but sometimes arises for other reasons, such as feeling pressurized by society or other reasons. Being there for them when they are down, and being patient with them even if it is hard for you to see them in such pain are both good ways to start. If you believe they need further help, then taking them to a therapist may stop any problems from escalating further.
Although the two can exist separately, Anxiety disorders and depression often interlink and can arise for similar reasons. Recently, there has been a movement to quell the distinction between physical and mental health problems, as those such as anxiety can cause intense panic attacks that affect breathing, as well as nausea and insomnia. Many adults suffer from anxiety, but without proper treatment early on, this can develop into something more, or can result in sufferers resorting to self-medication when they believe they haven’t had the help they need. Introducing medication into a teenager’s life can be a help, but with no real signs that antianxiety medication helps people, in the long run, it is better to start with organic exercises before debating whether to make the step onto medication. Holistic massages, exercise, and anxiety exercises will help your teen have a bank of resources their body can learn to rely on in their times of need.
Drugs and alcohol dependency
When times become tough for some sufferers of anxiety and depression, they can participate in unpredictable behavior as a way of dealing with difficult emotions. Sometimes, this can mean participating in petty crime but mostly means that they can start to depend on substances as a way of fuelling happiness. Signs of substance abuse can be hard to spot when you don’t know what you are looking for, but include anti-social behavior, falling behind in school, and irritability. It is important to stress that the number one addiction is Adderall abuse in teens, which starts from a young age when parents resort to Adderall to control children with ADHD. As an addictive substance, it is wise to be careful when prescribing kids such strong medication, especially if you are unsure if they need it. By doing this, you can help prevent a problem before it arises. If your efforts have not prevailed, it may be time to investigate rehabilitation to help solve the mental issues that lie behind their addiction.
Although teenage pregnancy is at a low, STDs are still a common side effect of compulsive behavior in teens. Yet, it is also the most easily avoidable. Although you can’t completely control this factor in your child’s life, you can practice an open and honest policy on sex from an early age. This way, your teen will more likely feel that they can come to you if they have any questions, or on the off chance, that something terrible has happened. Most STDs are now treatable with a short course of antibiotics, but it is always wise to stress the importance of safe sex.