From Delhi, New York, USA:
My 18 year old daughter spent 10 months abroad on a Rotary exchange program. When she returned, she had multiple piercings, a tattoo, and black dyed hair. Within the week, I noticed her unusual thirst and her frequent need to urinate. We went to her pediatrician and he diagnosed her with diabetes and sent her to an endocrinologist.
Due to her age, he had us go to a new primary care physician that treated "adults" because only an adult endocrinologist would see her. No one in our family has diabetes. I thought that maybe this was all due to her changes in food, environment etc. over the past months. Needless to say, she and I are accepting that this is here to stay.
In August, two months after her diagnosis, my daughter started college away from home. She is a typical 18 year old college student. She takes her medicine whenever she wakes up, which can be anytime from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and also eats at these extremely varied times. The medicine does not seem to be working very well any more, and I fear that insulin is the doctor's next step, but she is not responsible enough to use it. I am concerned because my daughter is failing college, not able to concentrate or schedule her life needs, won't discuss the diabetes unless it is to obtain attention from friends, and won't ask for help. I think she needs an inpatient center/sanitarium for a couple of weeks to help her cope and evaluate her physically and mentally. I have been unable to locate anything of this type except for a lock down mental unit. Is there such a place anywhere in the U.S.? My daughter wants this and we are willing to travel. With her mood swings and her drastic sugar level changes I am concerned for her physical and mental well-being.
You are clearly concerned about the emotional and physical health of your daughter. However, it is difficult to provide simple answers to such complex questions. Basically, since your daughter is an adult, she will need to be willing to sign herself in to a psychiatric inpatient hospital if she believes she would benefit from such a hospital stay. If she is not interested, the only way for her to be admitted is if someone else takes custody of her by declaring her incompetent. That is a very difficult and contentious process. In addition, since she has not been involved in outpatient psychiatric care, it would be difficult to argue that an inpatient hospital stay is the best option for her (she has not yet failed outpatient treatment).
It would certainly be helpful if she found a psychologist or psychiatrist or other mental health professional in her college town that would be willing to evaluate her and provide her with support. Unfortunately, you can not make her go. Perhaps it would be helpful if you contacted her university and asked if there is a college-supported mental health program. Your daughter may be willing to seek treatment at her local school.
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:00
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