Health Risks Facing Today’s Teens
Today’s teenagers face a multitude of alarming risks. From the rise in online bullying and the threat of school shootings to the widespread challenges of alcohol and drug abuse, modern adolescents encounter stresses and dangers that have contributed to higher levels of mental illness and increasing suicide rates. Here’s what parents and guardians should know about leading teen health risks.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among adolescents. Approximately one in 11 high school students attempts suicide, a shocking statistic that underscores the urgent need for awareness and intervention.
Suicidal thoughts are complex and often rooted in other issues, like loneliness, a lack of unhealthy relationships and a poor self-image. Engaging in open communication with at least one trusted adult can significantly reduce a teen’s likelihood of engaging in dangerous behaviors and experiencing mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
Warning signs of suicidal thoughts in teens might include:
- Feelings of being a burden
- Isolation or increased anxiety
- A loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Substance abuse
- Hopelessness or extreme mood swings
If you suspect your child is contemplating self-harm or suicide, immediate intervention, compassionate listening and professional help can make a lifesaving difference.
Underaged drinking introduces an array of problems such as academic struggles, poor impulse control and health challenges. Though excessive drinking claims thousands of lives a year, many teens still view alcohol use and binge drinking as a harmless rite of passage.
Parents must educate their children about the dangers of underaged drinking and set clear expectations. Emphasize that:
- Alcohol is a depressant that affects the body and mind.
- Impairment influences coordination, reaction time, vision, thinking and judgment.
- Alcohol’s effects on a developing brain can lead to lasting cognitive damage.
Recreational Drug Use
Recreational drug use represents a significant health risk, with marijuana and opioids representing particularly dire dangers. While high-THC marijuana strains can trigger psychotic episodes, opioids are highly addictive and can cause an overdose.
Many teens start experimenting with recreational drugs and quickly develop a physical or psychological dependency. Regular discussions about the dangers of drug use and how to say no can be vital tools in prevention.
Teen depression is a severe mental health condition causing persistent sadness and difficulties functioning in daily life. Pressures like peer influence, academic expectations and physical changes often contribute to this debilitating disorder. As a parent, you should encourage your child to be open with you about their emotions and get them therapy as needed.
Parents Can Help Teens Avoid Health Risks
Being responsible for a teenager’s well-being means equipping yourself with the facts about the leading health risks they face. Your love, guidance and wisdom can help them steer through all the ups and downs of adolescence.
Professional counseling and support from our team at R&A Therapeutic Partners can provide your family with the necessary tools to cope with these challenges. Reach out to us for assistance in managing these complex issues, and let’s work together to ensure a safer passage for our youth.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.