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December 19, 2009

Mental Health

Question from Aiken, South Carolina, USA:

My daughter has had type 1 for over eight years and has been pumping NovoLog for almost six years. She has complained for the past year or longer that she always feels bad even when her blood sugar is normal. It is as if she always feels like it is high or low even when it isn't and her blood sugar is also not swinging during those times. She just often says that she doesn't feel good. She also suffers from depression but has been doing much better over the past six months. I ask her if it is depression making her feel bad since she has a lot of physical symptoms of depression, but she says it is just like she always feel high or low. Have you ever heard this complaint before and do you know if there is anything we can do about it?

Answer:

Teens with diabetes have a higher risk of depressive symptoms than teens who do not live with diabetes. Depression can make you feel poorly, and it can be confusing when you also have diabetes, as you then need to figure out what is related to depression and what is related to blood sugars. It sounds like you’ve already figured out that it’s not the blood sugars. So, I’d think about helping your daughter find a therapist who works with teens with diabetes, and also find a psychiatrist who works well with the therapist if she also would benefit from medication management. Research suggests that the combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication offer the best outcomes.

JWB