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April 2, 2004

Mental Health

Question from Wales, United Kingdom:

My father, who is 66 years old, has suffered from type 1 diabetes since his thirties. He has always been extremely careful and able to control his diabetes and has been commended on his health. He has always been a very calm, kind and considerate man. However, over the last year his personality has totally changed. He is impatient, suffers from extremely rapid speech, crude in his language, doesn't comply with authority and what can only be described as in a constant hyper manic state. He is writing constantly and gets up at five in the morning having no less than four hours sleep. He also appears to be getting extremely emotional and ends up crying, especially when he has low sugars. As you can imagine the family is extremely concerned and everyday is a struggle, especially for my mother. Is there evidence of diabetes regarding mental health, hyper mania, manic depression, personality change and what medication is appropriate?

Answer:

It does sound like there is some concern that he may have developed some type of psychiatric illness that is made temporarily worse by the hypoglycemia. I would suggest you have him seen by a psychiatrist. The proper medication depends on the correct diagnosis.

JTL