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Introduction to Problems in Adolescents


Sharon Levy

, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School

Reviewed/Revised Jul 2022

Fortunately, most adolescents enjoy good physical and mental health. However, the incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases in adolescence are on the rise and likely are due to an earlier onset of obesity-associated disorders, longer survival after serious childhood disorders, and other unknown factors. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic and the global response to it, including disruptions in home and school schedules, have taken a toll on the mental health of adolescents.

Psychosocial adjustment is a hallmark of this phase of development because even healthy and typically developing individuals struggle with issues of identity, autonomy, sexuality, and relationships. “Who am I, where am I going, and how do I relate to all of these people in my life?” are frequent preoccupations for most adolescents. Psychosocial disorders Social Anxiety Disorder in Children and Adolescents Social anxiety disorder is a persistent fear of embarrassment, ridicule, or humiliation in social settings. Typically, affected children avoid situations that might provoke social scrutiny ... read more are more common during adolescence than during childhood, and many unhealthy behaviors begin during adolescence. Having an eating disorder Introduction to Eating Disorders Eating disorders involve a persistent disturbance of eating or of behavior related to eating that Alters consumption or absorption of food Significantly impairs physical health and/or psychosocial... read more , poor diet, obesity Obesity in Adolescents Obesity is now twice as common among adolescents than it was 30 years ago and is one of the most common reasons for visits to adolescent clinics. Although fewer than one third of adults with... read more , substance use Drug and Substance Use in Adolescents Substance use among adolescents ranges from sporadic use to severe substance use disorders. The acute and long-term consequences range from minimal to minor to life threatening, depending on... read more , and violent behavior Behavior Problems in Adolescents Adolescence is a time for developing independence. Typically, adolescents exercise their independence by questioning or challenging their parents' (or guardians') rules, which at times leads... read more can lead to acute health problems, chronic disorders, or morbidity later in life.

NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
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