Other Medical Issues

Scoliosis In Adolescents And Its Effects On Their Emotional Health, According To Psychologists

July 18, 2019
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Being a regular adolescent is already hard enough. Your body goes through a lot of significant changes, and being diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis is even harder. Idiopathic scoliosis is an abnormal curve of a person’s backbone that can affect their posture. Sometimes, this causes pain that can be hard to tolerate. There is still no known cause as to why this happens, and that makes it even harder to treat. Medical treatments are the priorities of both medical professionals and parents when their adolescent child is suffering from this sickness. And what parents fail to realize is that there is no attention given to the emotional health of the child. Psychologists say that this can also greatly affect their self-confidence and self-esteem. Emotional support must be given to those who have this problem.

What Factors Can Be Affected By Having Idiopathic Scoliosis? 

Adolescence is the time when teenagers are learning who they are and how they fit in a group, especially in school, they cannot avoid being looked at or bullied because of a misshapen body. This can lead to lowered self-esteem and eventually lead to mental problems like anxiety and depression.

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Some challenges that adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis go through are:

  1. A sideways hump that can be noticed in the backside, especially when wearing a swimsuit or tight-fitting clothes. This cannot be avoided, especially when the school requires proper clothing in various activities like swimming.
  2. Clothes fit unevenly like one side has a longer sleeve than the other because of the unevenness of the body. This can be challenging because it can be hard to hide this from others.
  3. Some patients diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis needs to wear a back brace that can be uncomfortable. Thus will also limit their movements that will limit their participation in activities both in school and outside of it. Also, braces are big and very noticeable.

Scoliosis curves, even when mild, can be noticed by anyone. Medical professionals use the Cobb angle to measure the curve of a patient’s back. Scoliosis size ranges from 10 degrees to more depending on how severe the scoliosis is. Scoliosis in teens and adolescents have been linked to lower self-esteem as new research has been conducted, but it is also known that a lower self – esteem varies on how noticeable the curve is. Not only self-esteem, but there are also other severe medical conditions that a person can face because of scoliosis.

How a patient feels about scoliosis can greatly affect how they feel about themselves. Some patients with mild scoliosis still feel normal for it is not that noticeable. Others with severe scoliosis can have self – esteem issues for it can be difficult to hide the curve on their back.

Factors like bullying can also trigger symptoms of stress and anxiety in teens who are suffering from idiopathic scoliosis. Being teased because of something they did not want to have in the first place is something that nobody wants.

Idiopathic scoliosis gives not only physical pain but also emotional pain, especially in teens. Some of these are not being appropriately addressed and could develop one or more of the following:

  1. Emotional pain – without proper guidance and support, teens are usually by themselves and dealing with their emotions quietly. They suffer from emotional pain because they do not have an outlet in which they can openly share their emotions.
  2. Bracing treatments – having a metal brace attached to your body can be painful physically and emotionally, but this is all part of how you can treat your scoliosis. Proper explanation and support are needed for a patient to get through treatment.
  3. Major surgery – in severe cases, major surgery must be performed to help treat idiopathic scoliosis. It will get very emotional, especially when a person is going through surgery the first time. Trauma can also be developed after going through surgery.
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To be able to notice if there are signs of depression amongst your child who is suffering from idiopathic scoliosis, here are some symptoms you need to know:

  1. Anger or irritability – this can be common in teens, but unnecessary bouts of anger or irritability can be a symptom of depression
  2. Lost of interest in once-loved activities – having scoliosis can limit a child’s movements that can make it hard or them to do what they once loved to do.
  3. Energy levels are lower than usual – since there is a lack in movement, some will just want to stay in their rooms most of the day. Sometimes, it is because they are also shy or embarrassed when going out.
  4. Talking about suicide – even reckless decisions are signs of a teen developing depression.

Pay attention to your child and see if there are signs like these so you can find a way to help and support them.