Young adulthood can be a complicated time, both for the individual and for his or her parents. Of all the challenges that come with growing up, though, health management may be one of the toughest.

Part of the problem is that young adults tend to assume they’re invincible, so they act like it, but parents know they’re not. By remaining on the lookout for hazards that most often occur in our teens and early twenties, and providing informed guidance and support on healthcare, however, parents can make this stretch of life a little easier.

Mental Illness and Addiction

The majority of mental health conditions first surface during the teen years or early adulthood. These can include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

One common way that young people cope with these issues is to self-medicate using drugs or alcohol. One way that families can minimize the impact of either the mental condition or the “solution” is by watching for early symptoms and pursuing treatment promptly.

That may mean encouraging young people to attend therapy, take medication, or learn new coping skills. In addition, if the young adult in your life is showing signs of both mental illness and addiction, it’s crucial to choose targeted dual-diagnosis treatment that addresses the intersection of these complications. 

Oral Health Issues

In recent years, it may have become a little easier to ensure that young adults get access to proper healthcare by allowing them to remain covered by their parents’ insurance until age 26. Unfortunately, for those covered by programs among low-income households, dental coverage typically ends at age 18.

Those with private insurance may not have any dental coverage at all. That doesn’t mean they can’t obtain dental treatment, but they may require extra encouragement and, in some cases, financial support.

Another valuable thing parents can do with regard to obtaining dental care for their teens and grown children is to highlight the benefits of dental stem-cell banking. Almost every young person has to have his or her wisdom teeth extracted because our mouths don’t often have sufficient room for them.

But our wisdom teeth also contain mesenchymal stem cells that can be used to treat certain cancers, multiple sclerosis, gum issues, and other health challenges. Parents ought to encourage young people to bank their stem cells as a form of insurance for the future.

Diabetes and Silent Health Crises

Many of the health conditions that afflict young adults are commonly referred to as “silent killers”: conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and even colon or rectal cancer. Since they show few, if any, outward signs, it’s easy to overlook these conditions.

Without regular checkups, young people may not realize they’re sick. Simple screenings like those performed during an annual physical exam can detect these conditions and possibly save a life.

The greatest challenge is to convince a healthy-feeling young person to walk through the clinic door and meet their appointment.

Responsibility and Consistency

Whatever the health concern, whether it’s something they’ve faced for most of their lives like ADHD, or a recently diagnosed condition, young people ought to learn how to be responsible for their health and be consistent in their behavior.

That means taking medication as directed, scheduling and attending appointments, and being willing to have the hard discussions when they think something might be wrong.

Remember, even if the young person resists holding these conversations with a parent, if you can ensure your son or daughter has trusted medical providers, you can be reasonably certain your child will get the help they need.


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