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September 30, 2002

Behavior

Question from :

My almost six year old nephew has had diabetes since he was a year old, he has always had severe mood swings, and he has gone from the "terrible twos" to the "frenetic fives." His behavior is often attributed to his diabetes, but I am unable to find information to validate my sister's theory. Is this a valid theory? Can you direct me to an information source on this subject?

Answer:

It is possible that some of the mood swings could be due to hypoglycemia. However, not all mood swings I think are always explained by diabetes, particularly with regard to glucose control. Sometimes a child can get very frustrated with their diabetes and this can be shown by mood swings.

It is important to give the child some time and space and opportunity to talk about how they feel. Often children feel picked on, cheated and hard done by, as they feel different or are made to feel different by their peers or by adults who are ignorant about diabetes. It is worth being able to let the child have a chance to say how they feel about things.

JS

[Editor’s comment: You and your sister will find the book, Sweet Kids: How to Balance Diabetes Control & Good Nutrition with Family Peace by Betty Brackenridge and Richard Rubin, a great reference for dealing with this problem.

SS]