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Question:

From Ft. Myers, Florida, USA:

My 20-year-old son was diagnosed with type 1 six months ago. He is physically managing his disease very well, but, emotionally, I don't think he is managing it. He refuses to talk about it and gets very angry if I bring it up or ask any questions concerning his diabetes. It's almost as if we pretend that he doesn't have diabetes. I was wondering how long a healthy "grieving period" is and if it is okay for his health to be a subject that we don't talk about. Does there come a point that it is no longer healthy to avoid the subject? He is a college student who is home for the summer and he is working two jobs. There is a huge difference between his personality this summer with diabetes, than last summer, before he was diagnosed. He is moody, quick to lose his temper and very impatient. Please let me know if there is anything I should be doing, besides praying at this time?

Answer:

It's certainly okay to let your son know that you are worried about him and that you have noticed changes in his mood that are concerning. Although he is an adult, he is living in your home for the summer, and you love him. Therefore, it's appropriate to let him know about what you are seeing and what you are worried about.

You can do a number of things to try and help your son, in addition to just letting him know you've noticed his struggles. You can offer to attend his next clinic visit with him for support. You can offer to either administer his insulin or check his blood sugars if there are times of the day that are difficult for him. You can offer to pay for counseling with someone who is an expert in working with individuals who have to adjust to life with a chronic disease. Also, the books Diabetes Burnout by William Polonsky and The Ten Keys to Helping Your Child Grow Up With Diabetes by Timothy Wysocki (both published by the American Diabetes Association) may help you understand your son's experiences a bit better. Your son may benefit from reading Dr. Polonsky's book himself.

JWB

DTQ-20070703085313
Original posting 8 Jul 2007
Posted to Behavior and Mental Health

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:12
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