February 17, 2006
Mental Health, Thyroid
Question from San Dimas, California, USA:
My son was just diagnosed in October 2005. He was 15, but has since turned 16. I have noticed that there has been an increase of depression, suicidal ideation and a refusal to acknowledge his type 1 diabetes. We have also recently found out that he has hypothyroidism. Could there be a direct correlation between the thyroid, the still uncontrolled blood sugars and the depression? There have already been two suicide attempts by overinjecting Humalog.
Also, are there any support groups/children’s camps where my son can meet other children like him so that he doesn’t feel like he is all alone? Also, will treating the thyroid help with the depression and blood sugars? I have MS and I’m afraid that all the stress he is going through is going to affect me and then he’ll feel guilty, creating an even bigger problem. Someone please help us. I feel like I’ve lost my son. The child that lives with me is not mine. I don’t know him, but I know he’s in there trying to get out.
Hypothyroidism, when untreated or undertreated can lead to debilitating depressive symptoms. There is also research evidence to suggest that individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk for depressive symptoms.
Your son’s suicide attempts are extremely serious and must be intensively treated immediately. Most individuals require an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization for stabilization and treatment planning. Some are able to be treated in a day-treatment program, depending on their depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts and plans. Once a person is intensively treated and they are no longer suicidal, they can be transitioned to less intense treatment options, such as biweekly or weekly psychotherapy.
It is vital that he be seen immediately by a licensed mental health practitioner. Your local Emergency Room will be able to evaluate your son immediately. You may also call your local suicide hotline for referrals, as well as calling your son’s diabetes team, and/or his pediatrician. Please get your son the help he needs immediately.
[Editor’s comment: For support, your son can chat with other teens at our web site’s Chat Rooms, Diabetes Camps in California, or attend one of our web site Conferences. You should ask your son’s diabetes team about local support groups. Your local JDRF and ADA offices may also have information on support groups.