Health Matters: Adolescent Mental Health

Being a teenager is hard enough, but nowadays it’s gotten even more complicated.

University Medical Center Psychiatrist Dr. Marisa Giggie said technology plays a big part in the mental health of adolescents, and balancing the potential pitfalls with children’s social lives will always be a struggle.

“We live in a much more complex world than we lived in 15 years ago,” Giggie said. “The main issues that I see are problems with technology and being on devices.”

Young people using social media can be great for staying in touch and keeping up with what’s happening among peers, but there are also plenty of negative aspects like cyberbullying.

“The other big problem with this age group is an increase in addictive behaviors,” Giggie said. “Vaping is a problem with this age group, and alcohol use has increased since COVID quarantine when kids were home alone.”

Poor body image, too, is a major source of teen anxiety.

“They see these images that are altered on social media and they think their bodies don’t compare,” Giggie said. “So they’re not happy with what they see in themselves because they are developing their self-esteem and identity.”

Teaching teens to be happy with themselves and avoid comparisons to what they see online is a major undertaking, she said.

For all your primary health care needs, visit University Medical Center, with locations in Tuscaloosa, Northport, Demopolis, Fayette and Carrollton.


Categories: Health Matters