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Teen Health and Wellness
As a teenager, life can seem overwhelming at times. It is a period of development when a multitude of physiological changes are occurring due to the onset of puberty. These changes affect not only your body but also your mind and can have an impact on your overall health. Additionally, it is also a time of many social changes. During these transitional years, there are many challenges, including the lure of drug usage and alcohol, potential emotional and mental health problems, and changing nutritional and physical fitness needs. Teens also face threats to their safety due to online interactions with others, driving cars for the first time, and other activities such as dating. Fortunately, there is a wealth of helpful information available that can make it easier to get through these challenging years.
Drugs and Alcohol
Alcohol consumption and illegal drug use are major problems among teens. The reasons for trying and continuing to use them are many. For some, the use of drugs is associated with a fear of being rejected socially by peers, while for others, it may be attributed to curiosity or the need to deal with some form of emotional distress. The actions of adults, particularly their parents, may also inspire teens to start drinking alcohol or using drugs. Both substances have a strongly negative effect on teenage health because of the damage they cause to the developing brain. For example, it can cause damage to your concentration and reasoning skills.
While there are an abundance of factors that can drive a teen to drug or alcohol use, there are also resources that can help them stop or avoid it altogether. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Alateen can provide support for at-risk teens, while intervention programs also exist for not only at-risk teens but also those who are seeking to end the cycle of substance abuse. Positive parental involvement is also highly important in preventing this problem from occurring. Teens who are facing pressure to use drugs or drink alcohol should be open and discuss it with their parents.
Emotional and Mental Health
Adolescence can bring with it serious emotional and mental health challenges, such as the risk of depression, body dysmorphia, anxiety, eating disorders, and even suicide. These problems can be caused by stress, peer pressure, chemical changes in the brain, and even the media. Support groups and counseling services can help teens work their way through these problems, and in many cases, parents and family can also provide the guidance and positive reinforcement necessary to overcome mental and emotional issues. In some cases, treatment in the form of medicine or changes in diet may be necessary, which must be determined by qualified medical or mental health professionals. Under no circumstances should you try to self-medicate or self-diagnose your problems.
Nutrition and Physical Fitness
Eating habits and exercise are extremely important when it comes to teen body development. Excess calorie consumption combined with a lack of exercise can result in obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Eating the wrong types of foods as well as inadequate water consumption can also have a negative affect on a mental and emotional level. Known as malnutrition, it can result in excess fatigue, a reduced ability to focus, poor memory retention, irritability, depression, and even eating disorders. A balanced diet is crucial during this time, and it can help set a healthy pattern that lasts a lifetime. Consuming three meals per day is important, including a breakfast with complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Proper vitamin and mineral intake is also necessary for good mental and physical health. Teenage boys should have a daily calorie intake of 2,800 calories, versus 2,200 for girls. Teens also need to exercise in order to burn off excess calories to not only prevent obesity but also build up healthy muscle and bone mass and fend off certain diseases. It is important to engage in both aerobic exercises, such as jogging and running, and strength-related exercises, such as rowing and weight-lifting. Exercise can be fun as well, especially with the help of interactive video games.
Computers, smartphones, and tablets are a part of life and teen culture. Unfortunately, they are filled with things that threaten the safety and well-being of those who use them. They are not, however, the only perils that teens face, as driving and even dating can also be dangerous. Dating typically begins around puberty, and the risks that come with it include domestic violence, stalking, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and pregnancy. You should discuss your dates and relationships with your parents and try to avoid sexual intercourse. Alternatively, to safeguard against STDs and pregnancy, you should use contraceptives every time you have sex. Another thing that can threaten your health and safety is bullying. Arguments in real life or online can lead to cyberbullying. If cyberbullying happens, you should not try to handle it yourself: Get your parents, school authorities, or both involved. Meanwhile, many teenagers begin driving around the age of 16, putting them at risk of severe injury, death, or legal or criminal liabilities due to the injury or death of someone else. Inexperience, speed, alcohol, distractions such as cell phones, and failure to wear seat belts are all common causes of teen car accidents, injuries, and death. For that reason, it is important to not only learn the rules of the road but to obey them strictly.
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