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knowledge vs. anxiety

Discussion in 'Parents of College Kids and Young Adults with Type' started by Maggie4444, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Maggie4444

    Maggie4444 New Member

    Mar 27, 2011
    I have a 30 yr. old son who has had Type 1 since he was 12 yrs. He lives in a city a few hours away and was recently hospitalized with infections. During his hospitalization I began to realize that he doesn't really seem to have very complete knowledge of diabetes, treatment, complications and so on. M. has had many challenges and losses in his life. In grade school we learned he had learning disabilities, an anxiety disorder, and he had physical health problems. Not too long after he was diagnosed with diabetes, M's brother, my older son, died suddenly. M then developed alcoholism and his adolescence was filled with one serious crisis or stay in intensive care after another. In all of this there didn't seem to be the opportunity for him to become more educated about diabetes.
    When he was 21 he joined AA and began pulling his life together. Since that time he has remained 100% sober and has made many positive changes in his life. He still has a pretty serious anxiety disorder, although now he is being treated. I am having a difficult time figuring out how to get him more information about diabetes without triggering his anxiety too much. Recently after another loss in his life he began smoking, after stopping two years ago. I do not believe he understands how much more serious this is for a diabetic. While he was in the hospital the nurse commented that the medical staff was surprised that he didn't have kidney damage because his BG is too high. The panic in his face at this comment was dramatic. A further problem is that he has a lot of anxiety about keeping his BG lower. He is working on this.
    Does anyone have suggestions? Also does anyone have experience with the combination of an anxiety disorder and diabetes.
  2. zakksmom

    zakksmom Approved members

    Dec 27, 2009
    I wanted to give you a cyber hug ((((0))))). Here, we all know its a difficult disease to get just right, thats why we just manage it to our best ability. I'm sure its hard with him being a few hours away, perhaps a positive, supportive visit from you might help?
  3. kimmcannally

    kimmcannally Approved members

    Feb 28, 2010
    Yep, but my son is just 14. I'm homeschooling him and his health class is all about diabetes. I don't mention the complications yet but work on instructing him in how to care for himself. I have found with him, though, going ahead and letting him know consequences works best. Then he is very eager to comply to avoid those problems. I've gotten fiber pills for him since his gastroenterologist put him on a high fiber diet. The instructions say to drink with lots of water to prevent them swelling in the esophagus. His first pill, I didn't tell him this, because I knew he would freak out. But he... hold on, let me copy and paste it from my blog...
    On the bottle, it says to drink plenty of water when you take these pills, or they can swell in your esophagus - that would not be a happy moment. I give J his first pill the day I got them without mentioning that little tidbit, knowing it would freak him out. He takes the pill with a **tiny** sip of water and starts to leave. Which freaks me out. So I encourage him to drink the water. No go. I finally tell him what the bottle says and he starts chugging water like he needs to float a small raft in his stomach. He has already complained that he hates water, so I've made him some Crystal Lite. He takes a break from chugging water and I pour it out and give him Crystal Lite. Which freaks him out - "the bottle says to take it with water!" He is now absolutely sure that I'm trying to kill him with a fiber pill. I assure him any liquid will work fine and the craziness subsides.

    So I guess you need to pick and choose when you trigger his anxiety. But if his anxiety will help keep him healthy, I would tell him the info.
  4. wilf

    wilf Approved members

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sounds like he could do with some reading materials.

    Type 1 Diabetes by Ragnar Hanas is an excellent reference book, as is Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner.
  5. joan

    joan Approved members

    Aug 31, 2009
    They do offer a 4 day intensive education session at Joslin in Boston. It looks like it covers everything.
  6. obtainedmist

    obtainedmist Approved members

    Aug 3, 2010
  7. carbz

    carbz Banned

    Nov 27, 2009
    FWIW abnormal sugar fluctuations can cause a great deal of emotional distress/anxiety for some people. I know this becaue it happens to me regularly. This is the part about diabetes that isn't really discussed much but IMO it can be just as devastating as secondary comps. These days its hard for me to get out and about as I am usually in some form of distress. The sugar swings win everytime. Anyway I had no idea how to really manage my diabetes until I decided to go back to a good endo back in 1999. I figured if I didn't understand how to manage this and get things better its onlt a matter of time before I would be dead. In 1999 I went on 4 injects a day with carb counting. Big improvement but it still sucks bigtime. Nowadays I can take up to 10 injects and just deal with it. Your son needs to learn the current techniques and follow them or things will only get worse.
  8. TheFormerLantusFiend

    TheFormerLantusFiend Approved members

    Sep 10, 2006
    Which type of anxiety disorder does he have?
    My therapist bills for me under generalized anxiety disorder. If you want to know more about that, you can send me a private message.

    I would say that all that he needs to know is what he can actually do something about. If he is already doing his best with his blood sugar, then it is not helpful to warn him about what out of range blood sugars can do. It may be helpful for him to know which conditions/complications he should be screened for and how often, and if his doctor(s) think that ACE inhibitors or aspirin prophylaxis would be helpful.
    And you can tell him from me (and many studies) that if his kidneys show no signs at all of disease twenty years into diabetes, his long term risk of kidney failure is negligible.

    P.S. Because I went into a deep funk after flunking a kidney screening two years ago, I've asked my doctor to stop giving me the results of my kidney screenings. I'm already doing all I can do; unless he wants me to do something else, don't tell me.
  9. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    Mastering Your Diabetes is an excellent course given in Miami several times per year. I think with knowledge comes power. Many people have told me they as if a huge weight was lifted off their shoulders with all the knowledge they gained through the program.

  10. Ronin1966

    Ronin1966 Approved members

    Feb 18, 2010
    Hello Ellen:

    <<Mastering Your Diabetes is an excellent course given in Miami several times per year.

    Is the program geared for "LIFERS" in any way? Like "refresher" courses as much as the next guy, but have yet to encounter any which have anything remotely meaty or in any way candidly useful for people with serious experience. :(
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Approved members

    Nov 20, 2007

    What kinds of information, specifically, do you think he needs to know? He has been dealing with this for 18 years now and is an adult. I am assuming he knows about the daily things he needs to do to manage his diabetes (Carb counting, regularly checking his BG, adjusting his ratios, tracking his bg and what he eats, testing his BG at night, etc). While you can provide resources for him to look into, it is really up to him to educate himself and put forth the effort. Do you know how he is managing his diabetes? Is he diligent about doing the things I mentioned above?

    As for the nurses comment, it was insensitive and unfortunate. I would have expected something more supportive and helpful, like "it looks like your BG has been high for some time now, tell me how you are managing your diabetes and let's see if we can find a way to bring it down."

    Smoking is horrible for your health, regardless if you have diabetes or not. If you feel that smoking is contributing to his high BG, find some research that proves this and share it with him.

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