The 5 Most Common Problems in Adolescence

February 22, 2018

Adolescence can be complicated. Really complicated. The changes that occur confuse not only the adolescent’s environment, but also the adolescent too. Empathy and patience are very useful tools for us to be better prepared to face problems in adolescence.  In addition, we should pay attention to any signs that may indicate some sort of mental condition.

The prospect of adolescence scares many parents to death due to its reputation, and the challenges it poses. It is also a period in a person’s life when they are susceptible to different disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Read on and discover which are the greatest problems in adolescence, and what we can do about them.

1 in 5 adolescents suffer some type of psychological disorder.

1. Problems in adolescence – Depression and dysthymia

Depression is a condition that affects many teenagers. The need to fit into a group, low self-esteem as a result of acne, and prevalent bullying problems are just some of the possible causes of depression.

Dysthymia, which is different from depression, may also exist. This disorder is a mild, yet at the same time chronic, form of depression. It is common for it to last for up to 2 years.

The family’s support is extremely important. Don’t overlook or dismiss as “teen things” any changes or significant signs of mental conditions. It is true that teens don’t talk much, and that the family is not the environment where they express themselves the most. Therefore, you will need to have your eyes open and give your teen enough attention.

Girl with problems of adolescence

2. Anxiety disorders

Anxiety is very prevalent today, and there is one stage of our lives where it has been gaining ground – in adolescence. The expectations that a teenager may have or that others may have about them can lead to severe stress. Also, the pressure to measure up well to others, or problems with friends can also be a source of anxiety.

The symptoms that can alert us to the fact that something in adolescence is not right are clear. Do they have insomnia? Are they very irritable? These can simply be changes of moods that are quite typical in adolescence. However, stomach pains without apparent cause and muscle tension are symptoms that need to be referred to a specialist. If it’s nothing, then fine, but if it is something then treatment can be arranged.

“Fear sharpens the senses. Anxiety paralyzes them”

-Kurt Goldstein-

3. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder

Problems related to food are undoubtedly some of themost common in adolescence. Adolescents often have to confront criticism about their own bodies. At the same time they are surrounded on all sides by those impossible images of beauty that society sells to us at a high price. So adolescents often focus on what they eat. They use their diet to gain control over their weight.

However, the problem doesn’t necessarily stem from this. It is often due to the fact that teens often take action without consulting anyone. Sometimes these measures are very restrictive, and are applied in the form of punishment or as a way to appease anxiety. Needless to say, they can have disastrous consequences on the body.

In some cases, these disorders are also the manifestation of a bigger underlying problem. One example could be a childhood trauma that has made the teen feel guilty and bad about themself, and so they start to control their lives with food. It is quite common for these disorders to sometimes manifest self-destructive behaviors.

Anorexic teen

Don’t be aggressive

Not being aggressive towards the adolescent is vital if you want to help them and solve this negative behavior that they are showing. Sometimes, parents may feel frustrated when they see problems in adolescence, and this may lead to them losing control. However, you need to remain calm and, above all, to ask for professional help.

If a teenager wants to lose weight, it’s fine to take them to the doctor who will then, in turn, refer him to a nutritionist. They will give advise on what to eat to maintain a healthy diet. But it’s also important to keep an eye on teenagers. If they have problems with food they will hide this from you.

4. Social phobia

Social phobia belongs to the group of anxiety disorders, and the symptoms are triggered when the adolescent is in a social environment or when they think about being in that environment. Interacting with strangers or having to go to a place full of people can be a living nightmare for them.

That’s why it’s common for many young people to stay in their homes during their teenage years. Insecurities, being self-conscious about their bodies, bullying, and the need for acceptance can cause social phobia.

When tachycardia, anguish and breathing difficulties occur in a social setting this can indicate social phobia.

5. Antisocial and oppositional defiant disorder

Does the teenager steal? Are they violent towards people or animals? It is easy for people who are not experts in the field to confuse antisocial and oppositional defiant disorders with just natural problems in adolescence. However, this type of behavior can be a symptom of a more serious problem.

Disobeying adults, not abiding by the rules, stealing and being permanently angry are some of the signs that can indicate the presence of these disorders. Young people respecting no-one, acting without thinking, being very impulsive and not taking into account the integrity of others. Is the person just going through a difficult time, or is something more serious? The best thing is to consult a specialist who knows how to deal with problems in adolescence.

Looking for help is vital. It is common for parents to feel powerless or look for reasons in the wrong places in a situation of this type. They may even feel that they haven’t been able to raise their children well enough. However, these misconceptions can make them adopt a passive and submissive attitude towards their children, something that will not benefit them at all.

Predominantly hostile, challenging behavior and the tendency to violate the basic rights of others may indicate that there is a disorder we must pay attention to

Adolescence – we know it well

We have all gone through adolescence. We can well remember how we felt misunderstood and how our parents seemed to withdraw their help instead of offering it to us. For that reason, it’s important that parents don’t just assume that the things we’ve mentioned above are just “teen stuff”. If they act in time then they can stop a disorder from getting drastically worse.

Sad teenager with problems in adolescence

Tragically, many adolescents are affected so badly that they actually commit suicide. Others suffer with terrible loneliness. In this very difficult period of their lives, adult support is necessary.  Adults can provide the security that teens so badly need. We should  look to help them, paying attention to tell-tale signs. There are comments we shouldn’t just shrug off, like “I don’t want dinner today”, “what I say goes” or “I feel good shut up in my room”. If we can look behind these comments and get to the root of the problem in time then we’ll be able to stop it spiraling out of control. And we could well avoid some very undesirable consequences.