Anxiety disorders, panic attacks, depression, OCD and addictions. These are, among others, the mental disorders that plague one in three Argentines and that, despite the fact that the vast majority are treatable, it is essential to know and detect them in order to treat them in time. Having an accurate knowledge of these conditions is urgent, especially when the number of adolescents suffering from these disorders grows year by year.
There are many factors that lead to this increase in mental ailments, and the changes that one goes through during adolescence are more than enough to open the door for them. Similarly, psychologists warn that the role of parents is fundamental when it comes to recognizing symptoms, but that many ignore them, since they normalize or minimize them, allowing their development.
Adolescence is that pivotal moment in which we are still in training and, to try to fit in, we put aside who we are, believe and think. All of this occurs in the primary-secondary transition (and later on into adulthood). Not only do we have the social pressure to belong to a group and form ourselves as individuals who are physically developing, but the way in which they taught us changes completely.
And in this way, with changes that we cannot stop, behaviors begin to appear that in the long run harm us. We are increasingly stressed, and sleeping the recommended eight hours is not enough (if someone is lucky enough to be able to sleep that much). This situation leads to a problematic use of substances (drugs and alcohol) and of computers / video games, which enhances the development of pathologies.
Increasingly common disorders in adolescents
50% of mental illnesses usually begin to develop before the age of 14, and the vast majority are not detected or treated. Anxiety and depression are the most common, followed by bipolarity, OCD, and schizophrenia, among others. And despite the incentive of the World Health Organization to promote prevention, the number of adolescents suffering from these pathologies does not decrease.
“Boys, girls, adolescents or young people come to the clinic who are brought by their parents for lack of attention, because they changed their behavior, because they are intolerant, angry, inattentive or because they see them isolated. And when one begins to work, the depressive and even depression appear as an entity. There are many children without the proper diagnosis, “says José García Riera, a psychiatrist specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry.
Many of these symptoms are ignored, since the child-juvenile psychic field is much more complex than the adult due to the natural changes inherent to human development. This does not mean that there are certain attitudes that go beyond the evolutionary growth of the child. But it is the parents themselves, and even the educational institutions themselves, who believe that these forms are just a phase of growth. This happens because, during growth, symptoms are presented that are not necessarily pathological, but correspond to an adaptive process.
The causes that determine the development and growth of these disorders also respond to biological, social, economic, political and cultural factors. It is not the same development that a boy with a stable economy and family environment has, But what happens when these problems are presented with a greater intensity and are still overlooked? The signs are becoming more frequent and acute, and begin to overwhelm the parents, so they have no choice but to seek medical help. But as Dr. García Riera said, these pathologies are already well developed.
The fact that the vast majority of adolescents seek medical attention, and that it is becoming more frequent, has resulted in the sale of antidepressants increasing exponentially in recent years. It is estimated that between 2004 and 2016, the increase was 111.3%; and between 2016 and 2018 around 20 million boxes of clonazepam were sold nationwide. «The adolescent needs to live in a safe society that allows him to play with life and try to find himself. You need a society that holds you in differentiation where you can choose who to be and not be attacked for it. Society must guarantee that it is not used, abused or used for commercial purposes since it is a very special stage.
Taking into account the factors that lead to the development of these disorders, the increase of these and how it was reflected in the increase in the sale of drugs, we will see what is the role of the family and the school, these fundamental institutions in the task of containment when it comes to the healthy psychic emotional development of young people. How do these two groups affect and promote the development of psychic ailments? What happened during the evolution of the family institution so that it began to be a problem? Is the school prepared to take the role of caring in front of its students and to develop educational practices?