What are some common adolescent health issues?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the five leading causes of death in teenagers are car accidents, suicide, homicide (the leading cause of death in black non-Hispanic teenagers), cancer and heart disease, with the rate of death increasing each additional year between the ages of 12 and 19. Other common health issues, some of which are implicated in the three leading causes of death, include the abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs, which are also linked to unsafe sex and sexually transmitted diseases (AIDS and HIV, genital herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, syphilis and others), unplanned pregnancy and criminal activity. Cigarette smoking is also a big draw for teenagers, who think that it makes them look grown-up, and the earlier they start smoking, the greater the chance that they'll become addicted.

Teenagers struggle with their body image, and their lack of self-acceptance translates into problems with crash dieting and malnutrition, eating disorders such as anorexia, binge-eating disorder and bulimia, and steroid use to attain a muscular build. On the other hand, teenagers whose activity level changes from that of active children who run around playing ball to couch potatoes glued to their computer or video consoles, may find themselves overweight or obese, and suffering from early-onset diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol at an early age.


Still other adolescent health issues are mental health problems, which are on the rise, either due to their greater frequency or because mental health professionals are more adept at recognizing them. Anxiety disorders (general anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder), bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression), conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, and depression are only some of the common mental health problems that are cropping up among today's teenagers.