Healthy Living

The Impact of Muscular Dystrophy on Teenagers

The Impact of Muscular Dystrophy on Teenagers

Muscular dystrophy can come in multiple forms, and all of which are known very well by those who are affected by this disease. As many know, it can affect the lives of both the patients and caregivers in various ways. There are people with muscular dystrophy who have a normal life span with mild symptoms that progress very slowly; others experience swift and severe muscle weakness and wasting, dying in their late teens to early 20's, making the impact on teens all the more difficult for teens and their families.

It can also alter a teenager's life as they are trying to make it as normal as possible with the disease. In fact, numerous studies have shown that teenagers with muscular dystrophy have anxiety and depression, which can not only be a cause of concern for them, but also for their parents.

Those who are teenagers and face the issues of muscular dystrophy can be affected emotionally and socially. For some who are surrounding the patient, it may be difficult to understand the disease, which could lead to teens feeling isolated from those who are the same age. Parents may even have difficulty understanding what their teenager is going through. Even though they are going to each of their child's appointments and watching firsthand what they're going through, they may have trouble understanding what exactly is going on in their head since, hey, they're not mindreaders. 

Although teenagers with muscular dystrophy might not be able to participate in the same sports and events as other teens, this does not mean that they aren't interested in them as well. Teenagers and others with muscular dystrophy may feel excluded and isolated from events that others participate in, often because they feel limited in what they can and cannot do. However, there are other ways for those with muscular dystrophy to participate in events with others who do not share the disease, and there are ways for parents, guardians, and friends to address this concern and support those with muscular dystrophy. Families must find the right resources to help their teenager to overcome their challenges, and this may also require having some difficult discussions on how they should go about it. 

Some discussions may even be just how to ensure that their son or daughter is having as normal a life as possible with muscular dystrophy. However, keeping a positive mindset is difficult and is something that truly cannot be forced onto someone. In fact, there were reports in various studies that say those who felt forced to accept their disease and condition in a negative light could feel discouraged to find further treatment. There will always be a level of acceptance that is needed, but too positive of an attitude can also give some a false sense of security that makes them feel uncomfortable. Parents and guardians should know the best possible ways to address these issues with their teenager, but sometimes it can be difficult to understand the exact issues that these teens face.