Whether you’re a teen, the parent of a teen, or the sibling of a teen, there are some health problems in teens you might want to be aware of. Many times, we just assume being young means we’re guaranteed automatic health, but that isn’t the case. Teens come with just as many health risks and health issues as younger children, or people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. If you’re a teen, it’s also critical to take care of your health now to prevent health risks and issues later in life as a result from not caring for yourself properly. Be sure you stay aware of these health problems in teens so you know what to spot if you, or a teen you know, start seeing signs.
1. Eating Disorders
Some of the most prevalent and increasing health problems in teens today are eating disorders, and not just in female teens either. More male teens are suffering from eating disorders than ever, and female eating disorders are also on the rise. Girls as young as 10 and 11 years old are now reporting hating their body and wanting to lose weight. As someone with a personal experience with this, I can relate on a number of levels. As teens start to hit puberty, they become more aware of their bodies and natural curves. During a time where understanding your body and wanting to fit in is harder than ever, eating disorders can arise, without even subconsciously intending to do so. A simple diet or missing meals occasionally can turn into something much more. Be aware of this in yourself, or your teen, so you can find out the best ways to promote a healthy body image and take care of them nutritionally.
2. Early Pregnancy
Along with eating disorders, early pregnancy in teens is also a health problem to be aware of. Though teen pregnancy rates have gone down somewhat, it doesn’t mean teens aren’t having sex as much. We’re just more able to provide birth control to teens than ever before. Early teen pregnancy doesn’t only take away precious youthful years from teens, but also puts them at risk for many health issues, including sexually transmitted diseases, early pregnancy risks, and emotional problems such as depression and isolation. If you’re a teen having sex, do whatever you can to be careful, and try to practice abstinence, not only for your body’s sake, but also for your emotional health. Sex before marriage comes with so many emotional issues that can do more to you than you would ever think, and birth control is not always 100% foolproof.
Depression is another issue that all teens and parents of teens should be aware of. I began struggling with depression as early as age 13 and didn’t even know what it was. I now know it wasn’t just my hormones either. Depression during your teen years can be a struggle to deal with, and can bring a large amount of confusion as well. It can set you up for many other health issues in life, including turning to sex to provide happiness, which can cause an early pregnancy. Depression also comes with suicidal risks, eating disorder tendencies, risky behavior, drugs and alcohol use, and use of pharmaceutical drugs in an irresponsible way. If you’re depressed, don’t just ignore it. Seek help from a responsible adult who can help you the best way possible. If you’re a parent of a depressed teen, be sure you pay close attention to their emotional health. If they won’t talk to you, be sure they have someone they can talk to.
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are one of the most common health problems in teens today. Most teens have more than one sexual health partner, and just because they’re using birth control doesn’t mean they are risk-free. Talk to your teen if you suspect they’re having sex, and if you are a teen, please be careful when choosing to have sex. The risks that you’ll suffer the rest of your life from STDs are nothing to play around with.
Teen alcohol use is extremely high today, and it always has been, honestly. Drinking doesn’t just set someone up for risks with driving, but also for risky behavior that could lead to risky sexual behavior, death risks, and just about anything else you can imagine. Also, someone can die from alcohol toxicity, especially if there is no one around to care for them the moment they are suffering. Don’t drink irresponsibly, and if you’re a parent of a teen, do not give your kids permission to drink, even in your home. Be aware of what they’re doing, however possible, and don’t just ignore drinking as a sign of youth. I’ve witnessed three teen deaths, just from drinking. The victims were not behind a wheel either. Drinking is a risky behavior that often gets overlooked as simple youthful behavior.
Smoking is another health issue that causes major problems in teens, starting with their heart and lung health, not to mention cancer. It also sets them up for other unhealthy behaviors like drug and alcohol use. It can cause liver damage, inflammation, and many dental issues as well. Talk to your kids about smoking, and quit right now if you’re smoking. I promise you when you’re 20 and concerned with aging, you’ll be so glad you listened! And by the way, the longer you keep smoking, the harder it is to quit later. Quit now and save yourself the headache, literally!
7. Drug Use
Many people know that drug use is sadly common in teens. What you may not know is why. Many teens are now taking pharmaceutical drugs to use for study aids, to stay awake, to help them have better sex, and of course, to get high. Common drug use such as marijuana, cocaine, and other, more well known drugs are also extremely high today. Not only are drugs dangerous physically, but the emotional issues are an entire other issue. Addiction is one of the most common problems in teens and young adults today. Be aware of what your teens are doing, and if you are a teen, please stop these unhealthy behaviors now before something gets out of hand. I’m not a parent myself, and I’m here to tell you, these things are simply not worth the health risks, or emotional risks that come with using drugs of any kind.
If you’re a teen, or a parent of a teen, be sure you’re always aware that these 7 health problems can happen to any teen when they least expect it. I found myself surrounded by all of these things and could have easily given in to more of them than I did. Take care of yourself as a teen and give yourself the freedom of living a healthier, less stressful teenage life and adulthood as a result. If you’re a teen, have you suffered one of these health problems?