Parents of teens often have a lot to worry about. Your teen's health may encompass a variety of issues, including drug abuse and body image. Keep these top four health concerns in mind for your teen.
Mental health is often overlooked when it comes to how teenagers are evaluated by doctors. The teenage years are the time when symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder develop. Pay close attention to your teen's moods and his or her ability to manage under stressful situations. Also keep in mind that bullying can lead to symptoms such as social withdrawal and depression that are similar to symptoms of some mental illnesses.
Teenagers are drawn to taking risks, especially the lure of drugs. If you have prescription drugs at home, especially medications such as prescription pain relievers, keep them locked up where your teen cannot access them. Become familiar with the symptoms of drug abuse, such as changes in skin condition, appetite, mood and violent behavior. Teens may also try smoking and drinking. In some cases, teens may abuse other substances, such as sniffing glue. Keep in touch with your child's activities and what his or her friends are doing.
With so much focus on beauty and achieving the perfect body type, teenagers may develop eating disorders. Although eating disorders are more common in females, males can develop them, too. Anorexia involves severely limiting caloric intake. Bulimia involves eating large quantities of food, followed by vomiting. Some people with eating disorders may chew the food and discretely spit it out before swallowing it. Binge eating disorder is a combination of these, with periods of heavy eating followed by periods of severe caloric limitation.
If your teen is struggling with any of the above issues, consider having them go to counseling. Teens face a lot of pressure, from within, you, their peers and society. This pressure can manifest in poor health decisions. Regular communication with your teen and being observant can alert you to health problems. You can also take the time to educate your teen about these serious health concerns.
Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. For counseling centers, Emma recommends the Center for Change. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2
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