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January 11, 2000

Behavior

Question from Alabama, USA:

I am 15 and was diagnosed 4 years ago. At first I was okay with everything. But in the past 6 months I've become more upset and worried over this disease. My friends have said they've noticed a change in my attitude lately. What could be causing my attitude change all of the sudden?

Answer:

It is not uncommon for people who have had diabetes for a while to become burned-out with the complex daily demands of balancing blood sugar checks, insulin shots, food choices, and exercise. Sometimes its helpful to turn to members of your family and ask them to help you get a “vacation” from your diabetes care by having them take-over responsibility for the shots, checks, and food. Some people need this break for a few days, others for a week or more. But having someone else do all the thinking and planning for a while can be very nice.

If you are worrying about the long-term effects of living with diabetes, it might be helpful to talk with your diabetes team about these concerns. They will be able to provide you with lots of very hopeful information about ways to prevent or delay the onset of complications.

Finally, if you find that you are remaining upset and worried in spite of getting a “vacation” from your family and in spite of gathering more information from your diabetes team, then it’s time to consult with a mental health professional who works with teens with diabetes. Your diabetes team or your local ADA should be able to recommend someone in your area.

JWB