Mental health clinics in Dubai say more young people are suffering from low self-esteem and social anxiety, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Priory Wellbeing Center in Dubai said anxiety was the number one factor for 10- to 19-year-olds seeking treatment, with a quarter of patients experiencing the problem.
The clinic added that 16% of patients experienced depression.
Ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week, which runs from February 6 to 12, the clinic released information about the conditions young patients sought treatment for.
Mohammad Naamani, a psychologist at the center, said there had been a “clear increase” in the past year in the number of young people aged 13 to 18 with mental health problems, particularly anxiety and low self-esteem.
“Mental health issues are very common among teenagers as they try to navigate their journey into adulthood while trying to manage fluctuating hormone levels.
“Much of this is normal, but it is also clear that the aftereffects of the pandemic are still lingering.
“Adapting to pre-Covid routines has been a real challenge for many, as the social impact is severe among this age group and they forget habits that began during lockdown.”
Children in this age group, he said, lack social support and connections, become increasingly lonely at “key stages of social and emotional development”, and are often left alone when things start to return to normal. You lose confidence in dealing with other people.
“Because they can no longer hide behind screens, they have developed a real fear of being scrutinized. I lowered it,” he said.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of children under the age of 10 received treatment for emotional or behavioral problems due to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The pandemic may have played a role here as well, and attention levels may have been affected by the shift to online learning, the clinic says, but the shift hasn’t been fully reversed. .
Part of the problem, according to Ozan Akbas, a clinical psychologist at the center, is that short videos, usually no longer than 20 seconds, are gaining popularity on social media platforms.
“More research is needed, but these videos and reels may be reducing students’ attention spans,” he said.
“However, the ever-increasing amount of fast-paced online stimulation that young people are constantly exposed to naturally accelerates the increase in attention problems and symptoms in people with pre-existing developmental disorders. It is no exaggeration to say that it is possible.”
Parents should be aware of signs and symptoms that may indicate mental health issues, the clinic says.
These include lack of interest in school tasks and activities, concern from teachers and poor academic performance, sudden social and emotional withdrawal, persistent depression, sadness, or constant anxiety. included.
Other things that may indicate that something is wrong include outbursts or extreme irritability, frequent headaches or stomach pains, poor sleep patterns, aggressive or disruptive behavior, There are negative stories about people and lack of self-confidence.
Updated: Feb 2, 2023, 4:34 AM