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February 2, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England:

I had gestational diabetes and my son was born very large, 10lb 4oz. He was given dextrose water and screamed uncontrollably for 3 days. I have had behavioral difficulties with him since then (unconsolable crying as a baby and young child, violent outbursts with despair when older). He is now aged 15 years, and is still having the same difficulties if he has any glucose, dextrose, artificial sweeteners, etc. He also has the same anger fits if he becomes stressed. There must be something going on here. He was diagnosed with ADD but has had no scientific tests. Any advice?

Answer:

You should seek several specialist consultations. One with a pediatric endocrinologist who knows about diabetes and hypoglycemia. This will ease your mind since it is very unlikely that you are describing an adolescent with either problem. But there are definite ways of testing including teaching you and your son how to check blood glucose levels to be sure that blood glucose levels really are normal after different foods.

More importantly, you should seek a behavioral neuropsychologist or educational psychologist who can do definitive testing to find out what is going on with your son. Your GP or pediatrician should be able to direct you to such a specialist. It will be well worth your while to see if ADD or ADHD is the correct diagnosis or if there is something else going on, depression, anxiety, drugs, alcohol, etc.

Once you have a real diagnosis, your concerns and fears will be reduced and you can direct your attention to then getting appropriate treatment, and educational and/or behavioral support and advice.

SB