SAN FRANCISCO, March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Making an adolescent visit the doctor for emergency contraceptives is like permitting a homeowner to buy a fire extinguisher only after a fire has broken out, according to David Grimes, MD, in the March ( http://www.ewjm.com ) wjm: western journal of medicine, the official journal of the California Medical Association. "This double standard in prevention services hurts women, especially adolescents, for whom gaining access to care may often be difficult," writes Dr. Grimes, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina. Just like "keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen is unlikely to lead to risky cooking practices," Grimes says, evidence does not point to a decrease in the use of non-urgent contraceptives. Dedicated to adolescent health issues, the March wjm looks at: a new screening tool for eating disorders, medical complications related to anorexia nervosa, identifying and treating adolescent depression, helping teens who live in violent communities, and adolescent sexuality and the media. The March wjm also looks at the relationship between young patients and their physicians, from both the patient*s and the doctor's point of view. In "What's Up, Doc," 18-year-old Michelle Goodman talks about how it feels when "you're the oldest kid in the waiting room. You can barely fit in the chairs." UCLA physicians Michael S. Wilkes, MD, and Martin Anderson, MD, based "A Primary Approach to Adolescent Health Care" on their teaching experiences at the Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles. "Adolescents are generally thought to be healthy," notes Dr. Anderson. "But at least 20 percent of North American adolescents have serious health problems" due to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use; depression; unplanned pregnancies; and sexually transmitted diseases. "These problems are often rooted in behaviors that are diagnosed not with a laboratory test or physical examination but through open communication between the physician and the adolescent," writes Dr. Anderson. The authors present an approach to treating adolescents that includes tips on language ("Avoid using slang ... it is likely outdated") as well as the "Five Fs" to remember when caring for adolescents (Explain Facts, Explore Fears, Address Fables, Explore Family relationships, and Ask About the Future). wjm is owned by the BMJ Publishing Group. It is the official journal of the California Medical Association and other Western state medical associations. Full text of all wjm articles is available at http://www.ewjm.com . The March wjm will be available online after March 14, 2000.
SOURCE California Medical Association