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November 21, 2002

Behavior

Question from Tennessee, USA:

My 12 year old daughter, who has had type 1 diabetes for four years, just started her cycle about three months ago, and hasn't had one since. She has a learning disability (I've been told she function at about age nine) which the doctor thinks is ADHD, has been suicidal, and she was hospitalized because of it. I' m having a lot of behavior problems with her so I'm searching for information that would help me cope and understand.She has no self-worth/respect/love and doesn't care for herself any more. I've had to lock my pantry door because shell eat anything and run her sugar extremely high. I'm afraid she's going to burn her kidneys up, etc. She's not over- or underweight; she's beautiful. She was the product of a rape that I endured in my youth so there's not much I can do about that. I met her daddy when she was two months old, and he's a good daddy. She is in counselling and in home therapy. I'm desperate for help,and I'm doing all I know how to do and trying to keep her safe as well as my other two children. I'm looking for examples of a point system with rewards and consequences. to go by. Can you help send me in the right direction? Can you give me any advice that might help me?

Answer:

My heart goes out to you and your daughter. It sounds like the two of you have struggled through so many difficult times together. Although your daughter’s diabetes care is extremely important, her struggles with her emotional health (depression, suicidal tendency, learning disabilities and ADHD) must all be addressed before she is able to care for her physical health.

Please call her pediatrician and/or diabetes team for referrals to an adolescent psychiatric facility. If they do not have good resources for you, contact your community mental health agency for referrals. Your daughter must receive immediate and intensive psychological and psychiatric treatment. It is very likely they will require the participation of your whole family as well. Please seek this help immediately.

JWB