Items in AFP with MESH term: Adolescent Behavior
ABSTRACT: School refusal is a problem that is stressful for children, families, and school personnel. Failing to attend school has significant short- and long-term effects on children's social, emotional, and educational development. School refusal often is associated with comorbid psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. It is important to identify problems early and provide appropriate interventions to prevent further difficulties. Assessment and management of school refusal require a collaborative approach that includes the family physician, school staff, parents, and a mental health professional. Because children often present with physical symptoms, evaluation by a physician is important to rule out any underlying medical problems. Treatments include educational-support therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, parent-teacher interventions, and pharmacotherapy. Family physicians may provide psychoeducational support for the child and parents, monitor medications, and help with referral to more intensive psychotherapy.
ABSTRACT: The leading causes of adolescent mortality are accidents (death from unintentional injury), homicide, and suicide. Additional morbidity is related to drug, tobacco, and alcohol use; risky sexual behaviors; poor nutrition; and inadequate physical activity. One third of adolescents engage in at least one of these high-risk behaviors. Physicians should specifically target these risk factors with preventive counseling, although adolescents may be reluctant to initiate discussions about risky behaviors because of confidentiality concerns. The key to providing relevant and useful preventive counseling for adolescent patients is developing the trust necessary to discuss the specific issues that impact this age group.
ABSTRACT: Substance abuse in adolescents is undertreated in the United States. Family physicians are well positioned to recognize substance use in their patients and to take steps to address the issue before use escalates. Comorbid mental disorders among adolescents with substance abuse include depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, and attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. Office-, home-, and school-based drug testing is not routinely recommended. Screening tools for adolescent substance abuse include the CRAFFT questionnaire. Family therapy is crucial in the management of adolescent substance use disorders. Although family physicians may be able to treat adolescents with substance use disorders in the office setting, it is often necessary and prudent to refer patients to one or more appropriate consultants who specialize specifically in substance use disorders, psychology, or psychiatry. Treatment options include anticipatory guidance, brief therapeutic counseling, school-based drug-counseling programs, outpatient substance abuse clinics, day treatment programs, and inpatient and residential programs. Working within community and family contexts, family physicians can activate and oversee the system of professionals and treatment components necessary for optimal management of substance misuse in adolescents.
Dealing with Adolescent Latino Patients - Curbside Consultation
Adolescent Dating Violence - Editorials
ABSTRACT: Sexual behaviors in children are common, occurring in 42 to 73 percent of children by the time they reach 13 years of age. Developmentally appropriate behavior that is common and frequently observed in children includes trying to view another person’s genitals or breasts, standing too close to other persons, and touching their own genitals. Sexual behaviors become less common, less frequent, or more covert after five years of age. Sexual behavior problems are defined as developmentally inappropriate or intrusive sexual acts that typically involve coercion or distress. Such behaviors should be evaluated within the context of other emotional and behavior disorders, socialization difficulties, and family dysfunction, including violence, abuse, and neglect. Although many children with sexual behavior prob- lems have a history of sexual abuse, most children who have been sexually abused do not develop sexual behavior prob- lems. Children who have been sexually abused at a younger age, who have been abused by a family member, or whose abuse involved penetration are at greater risk of developing sexual behavior problems. Although age-appropriate behaviors are managed primarily through reassurance and education of the parent about appropriate behavior redi- rection, sexual behavior problems often require further assessment and may necessitate a referral to child protec- tive services for suspected abuse or neglect.
ABSTRACT: Serious health problems, risky behavior, and poor health habits persist among adolescents despite access to medical care. Most adolescents do not seek advice about preventing leading causes of morbidity and mortality in their age group, and physicians often do not find ways to provide it. Although helping adolescents prevent unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, unintentional injuries, depression, suicide, and other problems is a community-wide effort, primary care physicians are well situated to discuss risks and offer interventions. Evidence supports routinely screening for obesity and depression, offering testing for human immunodeficiency virus infection, and screening for other sexually transmitted infections in some adolescents. Evidence validating the effectiveness of physician counseling about unintended pregnancy, gang violence, and substance abuse is scant. However, physicians should use empathic, personal messages to communicate with adolescents about these issues until studies prove the benefits of more specific methods. Effective communication with adolescents requires seeing the patient alone, tailoring the discussion to the individual patient, and understanding the role of the parents and of confidentiality.