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October 4, 2001

Behavior

Question from Dorset, England:

My 50 year partner, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes around eight years ago, has had a dramatic personality change since then, and I am sure that there is a physiological reason. He is more verbally aggressive, unreasonable and gets frustrated with very minor things. I can't seem to find any information on this, yet I am convinced it is related to his diabetes. Have you heard of this before?

Answer:

Turning 50 is a “watershed” of sorts. Being diagnosed with a chronic disease at that age can be startling especially if one has enjoyed good health until this time.”Midlife crisis” is an overused term, but dual stressors can cause big reactions in people.

Does your partner have a therapist or someone objective and trustworthy? It sounds like it is time for a talk. Blood sugar variations can influence moods. How well is the diabetes controlled?

If your partner does not have a treatment team which includes a therapist, I encourage you to help in finding one.

CMB
Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:
It seems unlikely that diabetes is causing these symptoms unless he is responding to periods of

hyperglycemia

or

hypoglycemia without being

unaware that his sugars are out of control. More intensified blood glucose testing in general each day — and more testing during these symptoms — would answer this questions directly. A consultation with an experienced clinical psychologist would also be helpful.

SB