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Many behaviors, which can negatively affect a person’s well-being and health, often arise during the adolescent period, a difficult phase in itself, characterized by profound vulnerability and many problems. Adolescents are “at-risk subjects” and therefore need careful monitoring, not to be confused, however, with invasion of their privacy! If, in fact, the former is a tool used to assess the presence/absence of risk factors or already established problems, the invasion in their private life, may instead turn out to be one of the “risk factors” to initiate conduct that may result in one of the many problems, which we will analyze in our article.

In the statistics examined, we also show how many of the problems of adolescent age can often be triggered or amplified by the discrimination present in today’s society: such as different ethnicity or different income produced by the family, as well as living conditions and living spaces.

We will examine, in this article, those problems that, in adolescents, still to this day fail to find a treatment solution or an adequately effective response within the social and health services dedicated to them.

Substance abuse

Substance use in adolescents involves the use of alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics (including prescription drugs procured without a prescription). Substance use ranges from experimentation to severe substance abuse disorders.

If drug use in adolescence becomes a daily part of the adolescent’s life and persists over time, it’s a substance abuse. Unfortunately, there is no single cause in substance abuse in adolescence. The most prevalent causes among adolescents, which are noted from the data collected, involve cases of violence, health problems, school problems, risky sexual behavior, and the difficulty of expressing one’s sexual orientation.

Through studies conducted in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) program, data show that there is often a correlation between drug use and adolescent sexual orientation. High school students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are nearly twice as likely to abuse illicit drugs as peers who identify as heterosexual.

 Motor vehicle accidents

Many young people are victims of traffic accidents. From the 2019 European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) survey, road accidents involving young people aged 15-30 account for 25% of road fatalities in Europe. The factors leading to these accidents are varied; they can be due to recklessness or inexperience, but also to drunk driving, which is common among young people. Around 25% of the very young, in the 14-20 age groups, are killed driving mopeds.


Suicide is a self-injurious action, which includes both suicidal gestures, suicide attempts and completed suicide. A study in BMC Psychiatry showed that among adolescents, those who attempt suicide undergo more attempts than adults. Differences in method, motivation and intention can be seen between adolescents and adults. Adolescents use more non lethal methods to achieve suicide, for example using over-the-counter drugs taken in high amounts, thus inducing poisoning.

Motivations are mainly related to interpersonal problems and not economic or health problems. Adolescents who attempt suicide typically feel anger toward family members or friends and turn it against themselves. In some cases they may wish to manipulate or punish other people (“They will cry when I am dead”).

 Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are becoming an increasingly worrisome problem for adolescents. Approximately 20 million new STD infections are recorded each year and, half of these, are contracted by young people between the ages of 15 and 24. It is estimated that 1 in 4 of sexually active female adolescents has contracted chlamydia or papilloma virus.

Adolescents are at high risk for STD both behaviorally and biologically. In fact, having multiple partners and underestimating the importance of condoms is more common in this age group; in addition, adolescents use prevention and treatment services in the area of sexual health less than adults. This results in a higher likelihood of exposure with a lower chance of diagnosis and treatment.

From a biological perspective, adolescents are particularly susceptible to STDs such as chlamydia and papilloma virus because of lower cervical mucus production. Therefore, if exposed to an STD, adolescents are more likely to become infected than adults.

Eating disorders 

Most people, who have or have had an eating disorder, developed it during adolescence. Eating disorders are a serious and sometimes life-threatening mental health condition. There are different types, but the most common are anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and obesity. Many other disorders, such as orthorexia, are not identified, but rather mistakenly equated with having a “healthy” lifestyle.

According to some statistics, the average age of onset of anorexia and bulimia is 18 and 21 for binge eating. Girls on average are about twice as likely to suffer from an eating disorder as boys. In addition, those who develop an eating disorder, between the ages of 15 and 24, are on average about ten times more likely to have it lead to death than those who develop them in adulthood.

There are many causes that lead to the development of an eating disorder, differing from person to person. Research shows that eating disorders are the result of a mix of genetic, biological, psychological, and social factors.

Family communication

Positive communication between parents and children includes talking about beliefs, experiences and feelings. This type of communication is critical to healthy relationships and can help adolescents to cope with the problems they face every day. In fact, Good family support and good information about many of the problems that plague adolescents would be a start to succeeding in downsizing.