Puberty: Important warning signs of mental disorders

The sky high in jubilation and the next moment everything is gray in gray and culminates in the realization: Nobody understands me. Puberty is characterized by a complex pattern of different developmental tasks and is accompanied by a roller coaster of emotions. The majority of teenagers manage to make it through the chaos, but 18% find themselves in a psychosocial identity crisis and around 5% become psychologically conspicuous. You urgently need medical help.

Obesity obviously leads to premature puberty

Girls who are overweight since the age of 3 often enter puberty earlier. This has been discovered by scientists from the University of Michigan (USA). They observed the development of body weight and body mass index (BMI) of more than 350 girls up to the age of 12 years. The result:

Obesity probably makes for a faster maturity development. In girls, who brought too many pounds already as a toddler on the scales, breast development often began at the age of 9 years. As a rule, this first sign of early puberty is observed at the earliest 10 years. Even young participants, whose BMI fluctuated greatly at the age of 3-6 years, usually reached sexual maturity at an earlier date.

The early onset of puberty can be the cause of behavioral problems and psychosocial stress, the researchers emphasize. Therefore, parents should pay attention to a healthy diet and sufficient exercise in their offspring as early as childhood.

Nothing can stay as it is

The change in appearance, which generally begins earlier in girls than in boys, calls for acceptance and an active choice for the changing appearance. One's own experience often shakes one's self-image, questions self-esteem and self-control.

How children, their parents, and the social environment go through and live through the stormy season depends on girls' disposition, past experience, and skills. They often do not feel in harmony with their body and therefore misunderstood. There is a demarcation from adults, especially from parents, as they try to experiment with risky and provocative behaviors such as clothing, makeup, and language.

It is amazing that the complex changes in physiological, social and emotional development are coped with by more than 80%, but 15-18% experience a psychological crisis, 10-13% of all adolescents show behavioral problems and another 5% serious mental disorders who require medical attention.

The earlier the inevitable development process begins, the more difficult it is to grasp the path to sexual maturity. The most important stress reactions are adjustment disorders, urgent restlessness, oppositional disorders and disturbed eating behavior as well as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

When food becomes an enemy

The examination of one's own body weight begins in late childhood. On the one hand, the number of overweight children and adolescents has increased steadily in recent years, on the other hand, half of all primary school girls already want to be thinner. Many ten-year-olds already have a diet behind them. With the onset of puberty, there are often eating disorders that draw attention with the following signs:

  • Reduction of the amount of food and composition (reduction of calories eg avoiding sweets)
  • Decrease in body weight with the aim of continuing to lose weight
  • Regular weight control
  • Afraid of gaining weight.

The pathway to anorexia is often characterized in this way and not infrequently leads to the eating-crushing addiction - a bulimia. The sooner professional help is used (possibly against the will of minors), the sooner chronification and the risk of depression can be avoided.

Depression is often not discovered

According to recent surveys, about 1% of all pre-school children and 2% of primary school children suffer from depression. This is shown by lack of play, lack of enthusiasm and lack of motivation, a low self-esteem and sad mood. Until puberty, as many girls as boys are affected. In puberty, up to 5% are depressed, the girls then two to three times more often than the boys. Unfortunately, the disease is still often not recognized today, so probably less than half of the affected children and adolescents receive a therapy.

Warning signals are:

  • Neglecting the past hobbies
  • Decline of contacts with peers
  • Easing of school achievements
  • Mood swings, appetite and sleep disorders, also headache and abdominal pain.

Suicidal thoughts are not rare

Up to 350 children and adolescents kill each year in Germany. After traffic accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death in this age group. When girls express thoughts of suicide during puberty, they are very serious and medical help is highly recommended. To be silent here and not to talk about it is dangerous! One should become clairaudient if the following applies:

  • Withdrawal from interpersonal relationships; especially to peers
  • Aggression against your own person
  • Suicidal fantasies
  • Increased physical discomfort.

With this statement, the doctors of the professional association of gynecologists want to help to better understand the behavior of young girls and to address problems in puberty in good time.

Share with friends

Leave your comment