December 26, 2000
Question from Helmond, Brabant, Holland:
My 14 year old brother, who has ADHD, is not in control of his diabetes. If we tell him to take his injections, he says that he will do it when he wants to, and when we encourage him and make him aware of the dangers, he says he doesn’t care. How can we tell him it is for his own health to take the injection and that we only want to encourage him and support him, in a positive way without making him angry?
Your brother is lucky to have a sister like you. People with ADHD have a difficult time remembering to do things on-time. They have difficulty with planning and organizing. They have difficulty following directions with multiple steps. So, having ADHD makes taking care of the complicated and demanding diabetes regimen even more difficult.
I would recommend that your family discuss this with your diabetes team which may have lots of ideas on how to help your brother. However, I think the most important thing is to realize that he is just not capable of assuming the responsibility for remembering shots and blood checks on his own. An adult must take that responsibility for him (at least for the next year or so) while you are all working together with a diabetes professional to figure out some strategies to help your brother begin to successfully assume some of this responsibility. So someone else must watch the clock, and check his blood sugars, record the numbers, and give him his insulin, at least for a while.