Other Medical Disorders

There are many other disorders noted in adolescents (40). Two more are considered here—headaches and epilepsy. One of the most common concerns of youth is that of headaches, affecting 75% in Western countries, including four or more headaches per month reported by 10% of females and 5% of males in the United States (50,51). Approximately 25% of adolescents in the United States and Europe consult a clinician at least once in their teenage years because of headaches, whether tension (chronic daily or muscle contraction) or migraine types. Tension headaches are three times more common than migaine headaches. The prevalence of migraines varies from 8% to 12% of the population in various countries and there is a 1:3.5 male to female ratio (52). Migraines that begin in childhood often resolve by adulthood, while those that begin in the teen years often continue throughout the adult years.

Epilepsy affects 1% of the population and nearly 25% are under age 18 years of age. The annual incidence of epilepsy is 24.7 per 100,000 for 10- to 14-year-olds and 18.6 for 15- to 19-year-olds (53). Data from 1935 to 1967 in Rochester, Minnesota noted an incidence of newly diagnosed seizure disorder as 36 to 48 per 100,000 in the 10- to 19-year-old population (53). The disorder in adolescents may be a carryover from childhood or a chronic illness beginning in the teen years (54). Problems that youth with epilepsy must deal with include teratogenic potential of some anti-convulsant medication, choice of contraceptives for sexually active youth, video game-induced seizures, implications of seizures and driving, and other issues (40).

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