Psychiatric and psychosocial effects of Covid-19 on teenagers

Although medical evidence suggests that teenagers are not as susceptible to the development of physical symptoms with COVID-19, there are significant psychological sequelae. These include the development or exacerbation of mood, anxiety and behavioural disorders in conjunction with compromised coping skills. The disruption in education, leisure and family structures can adversely impact on teenagers’ long-term psychiatric wellbeing.

Teenage heavy drinking and effects on the brain

The brain is one of the most fascinating, complicated organs in the human body. Recent attempts have been made to map the entire brain. However, due to the complexity of the brain and the intricacies of its circuitry, neuronal networks, synaptic connections, etc. this monumental enterprise is yet to be achieved. The brain is the centre of the individual’s essence, their personality, their likes and dislikes, and what makes them who they are. Any disruption as a result of disease, injury or some external influence like substances therefore have vast detrimental consequences. Adolescence is a period during which significant change and development of the brain occurs, making the adolescent brain particularly susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol. South Africa is a nation with a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and a considerable proportion of youths who regularly engage in heavy drinking. The recent deaths of 21 young people aged between 13 and 17 years in the Eastern Cape highlighted, again, the lack of enforcement of policy, the societal norms around underaged drinking and the relatively easy access to alcohol in South Africa. This article will endeavour to lay out the public health burden of adolescent heavy drinking and the bio-behavioural and psychological effects associated with unhealthy drinking.

Women’s health and psychiatric disorders

Mental disorders can affect women and men differently. Some disorders are more common in women such as depression and anxiety. There are also certain types of disorders that are unique to women. For example, some women may experience symptoms of mental disorders at times of hormone change, such as perinatal depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and perimenopause-related depression. In this article, I will focus on mental illness at hormonal transitions in a woman’s life – during menstruation, during the perinatal period and at menopause.


Health Professions Council of South Africa


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Psych Science Vol 5 No 3 - 2022