Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 25, 2007

Impulsive teens make for many problems

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:24 am

NST: SERI KEMBANGAN: More than a third of adolescent girls admitted to government hospitals end up there because of pregnancy or problems with childbirth.
And nearly half of the boys in the same age group sought treatment for accidental or self-inflicted injuries or poisoning.
These statistics show that a large number of adolescents, those aged from 10 to 19, are suffering from much more than teenage angst.
According the Health Ministry figures in 2005, 48,000 adolescent girls were admitted to government hospitals, and close to 41 per cent were there for pregnancy and related problems.
Forty-six per cent of the 65,345 boys admitted had hurt themselves either on purpose or accidentally.
“We cannot afford to play the blame game when addressing issues such as accidental pregnancy, abortion, Mat Rempit and others,” said Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican at the launch of the Fifth National Adolescent Health Symposium.
“It’s time we got together and addressed their needs. Their mindset, environment and expectations are different from those of our generation. It’s a whole new ball game.”
Dr Ismail said adolescent health issues had long been neglected because they were generally physically fit and rarely had organic disorders.
He added that hospitals may soon have wards specifically for adolescents.
“Adolescent health is a new area of medicine in Malaysia, and there is a big gap between the demand and supply for specialised services to address the unique needs of adolescents.”
Malaysian Association of Adolescent Health (MAAH) president Dr Nazeli Hamzah said adolescents did things impulsively, craving instant gratification with little regard to the long-term effects of their actions. “This is because the adolescent brain is still being developed, and the emotional side of the brain is not properly connected to the thinking side.”
Dr Ismail said the definition of health was not merely the absence of disease, but a complete state of well-being. With the emerging interest in mental health, adolescent issues are gaining prominence.
He said the number of adolescents who received counselling had increased from 11,887 in 2004 to 21,216 in 2005.
Additionally, 2,499 were referred to hospitals or other agencies for further management.
The symposium was jointly organised by MAAH, Mal- aysian Medical Association (MMA), Health Ministry, National Population and Family Development Board, Federation of Family Planning Associations and the Malaysian Pediatrics Association (MPA).
Present were Health Ministry’s Family Health Development Division director Dr E.G. Palaniyappan, MPA president Professor Dr Zulkifli Ismail and MMA president Datuk Dr Teoh Siang Chin.

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