It is quite amazing to witness the management of our teenage population when it comes to their health. For some reason we like to make things very complex in medicine. I believe it is because it keeps the power in the hands of the doctor and the medical establishment. I can not quite wrap my head around how a teenager can be on 5 different medications that are in the end only making matters worse in their body. As doctors, we get so caught up on the symptomatic presentation of the patient that we miss the bigger picture of what is really going on. A majority of the time, when teenagers are dealing with a health concern, the problem is stress. This probably makes sense to the majority of you (especially if you have a teenager) but it is often difficult to understand how to help them change this.
Stress is best understood through one word, fear. What is your teenager fearing? That they are not doing a good job, that they are not living up to your/others expectations. We need to accept people for where they are in their lives and not impose our expectations upon them. Start first through leading by example as this is the best way to create the outcome that you want. Educate teens on the benefits of eating well, sleeping, moving and laughing. We need to stop medicating them in hopes of conforming them to the societal expectation but rather help them move past the fear to reach their full potential.