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December 15, 2005

Behavior, Mental Health

Question from Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA:

My son told me last night that he is experiencing depression about two days a week. In speaking with him, it appears to be related to his diabetes. His last A1c was 6.9 and he has been doing quite well, in general. It sounds like it is the day to day grind that is getting to him. He expressed frustration at always having to remember to test and to carry his supplies.

We go to Denver to the Barbara Davis Center, but just had our appointment a week ago. At our next appointment, in three months, I will hook my son up with the counselor. But, what can we try or do in the meantime? I should state that I don’t feel the depression is at a dangerous level at this time, and I will certainly watch closely.

Do you have any suggestions for us?


From: DTeam Staff

It is very common to feel burned out by the demands of diabetes. It is also not unusual to begin feeling depressed. Waiting to see a counselor for three months is probably not going to help your son that much, even if that counselor is fantastic, as a one-time appointment is not likely to be particularly beneficial. It would be great to find a counselor that can talk with your son right away. You can start finding one by talking to your son’s pediatrician or by talking to your local American Diabetes Association. Finding a person with expertise in helping children and teens with a chronic illness would be ideal.

While you are looking into counseling that is local, talk with your son a bit more about the things you might be able to do to relieve some of the burden he is feeling about diabetes care. For example, can you check his blood sugars for him and record them in his log book? Can you help him set his basal rates and/or give him his boluses? Help him count carbs? Anything that you can do to reduce the daily burden on him, even if it’s for a few days or week, will likely be helpful.