As adults, we assume that the healthiest part of one’s life is during childhood and adolescence. However, when it comes to the wellbeing of your child, adolescent health is not something to be taken for granted.
Clinical studies show that physical inactivity, sedentary behavior, and low cardiorespiratory fitness are strong risk factors for developing chronic diseases later in life. In addition, it is estimated that approximately one in every five children has a diagnosable mental or emotional disorder. In fact, research indicates that during the COVID-19 pandemic, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, and suicide risk among adolescents has increased dramatically.
Clearly, adolescent physical and mental health is a serious issue that we cannot afford to ignore. To deal with it, we must first identify some of the concerns children and adolescents are faced with today.
Adolescent Health Areas of Concern
Between the ages of 11 and 18, an adolescent experiences many physical and emotional changes that can pose complex physical and mental health concerns requiring age-focused patient care that addresses:
- Healthy lifestyle habits
- Sexual health
- Hormone issues
- Menstrual issues
- Nutrition and weight management
- Skin care
- Substance abuse
- Stress management
- School, family, and home concerns
- Social pressures
- Sexuality- and gender-related topics
- Eating disorders
- Depression or anxiety
A particular area of concern among adolescents is mental health. Many children and young people experience psychological and emotional disorders. In fact, some conditions, such as eating disorders, are more prevalent in children and adolescents than in adults. Often, mental health problems and behavioral disorders are challenging to identify, because it is difficult for a young person to discuss these subjects and explain how they feel.
Not only that, but as a child enters puberty, their hormone levels change so radically that it can be hard to know whether their behavior is the result of a mental health disorder or merely due to the biological changes they’re going through.
The types of mental health conditions that most often affect adolescents include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance abuse
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Eating disorders, including bulimia and anorexia nervosa
Adolescents often find it difficult to discuss these subjects. This is why they need a safe, non-judgmental environment in which they can feel comfortable about expressing their concerns and obtaining the quality care they need.
Adolescent Health Doctors in Tuckahoe, New York
At Village Pediatric Group in Tuckahoe, New York, our pediatric specialists create a safe, non-judgmental environment where adolescents can feel comfortable about opening up and getting the care they need to lead a healthier life.
An adolescent health check monitors the same areas as a standard annual health check, plus those that apply exclusively to this age group. The appointment tends to last longer to give your child more time with their doctor and speak without feeling rushed or self-conscious.
If you are concerned about your child’s behavior or mood, the professionals at Village Pediatric Group can help. Although some medications are suitable for children who have certain conditions, like ADHD, many drugs aren’t safe for those under age 16. Instead, our primary approach at Village Pediatric Group is to treat mental health issues with therapy.
Whereas cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be a valuable tool in helping young people manage conditions such as anxiety and phobias, psychotherapy can help resolve specific issues affecting your child, such as bereavement or trauma. Similarly, behavioral therapy can help children who have ADHD understand how they feel and learn to modify their reactions.
By partnering with an adolescent medicine team at Village Pediatric Group, you can enhance your child’s chances of enjoying a healthy life as they move from adolescence into adulthood. To schedule an appointment, call us today at (914) 771-7070 or use our convenient online booking tool.