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May 22, 2009

Behavior, Mental Health

Question from Florida, USA:

My 18-year-old daughter shows fits of anger like a very young child much of the time. She intentionally took an overdose of insulin two days ago. She never takes care of her diabetes. We have had to take control of her health because she cannot do it alone. From what I have been reading, many teens have problems like this regarding their own health. Is this true?

Answer:

While it is true that many teens experience times in their lives when they need a parent to step in and take over their diabetes care tasks for a time, it is not at all typical for a teen to take an insulin overdose intentionally. Please talk to your diabetes team immediately about this overdose. Also, talk with your child’s primary care physician. It may be wise to take her to an emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation to assess her for safety, as insulin overdoses can be lethal. She will need an evaluation by a mental health professional to assess for safety and suicidality.

JWB