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Medical Conditions On Adolescents Essay

1425 words - 6 pages

Chronic illness has a large effect on everyone, no matter what the age. In adolescents, they are still dependent on their parents as their caregivers, and are old enough to understand and make decisions for themselves. Chronic illness has been defined as “an illness that is prolonged in duration, does not often resolve spontaneously, and is rarely cured completely.” (Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing). Adolescence is “a period of rapid physical, psychological, emotional and social development during which young people develop a sense of an independent identity, focus on peer acceptance, and plan for the future and then develop romantic and intimate relationships.” ...view middle of the document...

With this education disadvantage, it means that there may be a problem in getting jobs and achieving financial independence as adults. With constant doctor’s appointments and hospitalisations, adolescents spend a large amount of time isolated from other teenagers and in the company of adults. Minuchin (1974) describes family as interactive social system within which each individual responds to stress caused by others in the family and contributes to stress felt by others. The families of ill adolescents are often also socially isolated. Spending less time with their friends and their primary concern being for that off the ill child. This often also results in working from home or not working at all, so they can be a full-time carer. It has been recommended that parents do continue with their daily life or working and socialising as it can benefit the ill child as it leads to fewer parental restrictions. Families were thought of to be traditional with two-parent relationship, decent income. Not extended families, single-parent families, or families with more than 1 member with disorder. Seriously ill adolescents should still contribute to family life (eg. Household chores) as over protection makes them feel incompetent. Most adolescents also want to know about sexual options and reproduction as the possibility is there that the illness could pass onto the next generation. Most young people cope well with the emotional aspects of having a chronic illness, although they are more likely to have a lower level of emotional wellbeing than their peers who are healthy.

Chronic illness can alter the timing of puberty on adolescents. The process is not affected, only the timing is. Depending on the illness it could start over a year earlier than the average age or could start later. The body undergoes major stress levels due to an illness. With the amount of medication that an adolescent being chronically ill, would have to digest, they can have some serious side effects which can alter one’s appearance. Body image at the time of adolescence is an important part of forming ones identity. This can go beyond one’s control with diseases like Anorexia. With body issues like height, weight, pubertal stage and scarring, these problems can persist into adult life. They can contribute to reduced levels of self esteem and can increase anxiety as well as provoke under nutrition. Carroll et al. (1983) found that adolescents with chronic illness experience twice as much anxiety, seven times as much concern about weight, twice as much concern about acne & four times as much concern about health in general. 

Stress is a common problem with everyone. With chronically ill patients, the stress levels are increased and there is greater risk for depression. This can be caused by perception of being different from their peers or from isolation from long stays in hospital. Conformity is important in the adolescent years. A mother sees herself as the primary care...

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