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Depression And Your Diabetic Child

by: Russell Turner

As parents of a child with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes we need to be very aware of the possibility that our children may become depressed. The emotional wear of daily diabetes care on a child is a fact of life. This usually occurs well after the diagnosis. As parents and caregivers we settle into a rhythm. The exact opposite is true for our diabetic children. Sometimes we may not even recognize the symptoms. Trouble sleeping, irritability, apathy, less interest in friends, and less interest in activities they used to enjoy are just some of the signs that our child may be depressed. They may just seem generally sad. Other symptoms to watch for may include temper tantrums, low self-esteem, or maybe they stop doing well in school. Adjusting to life with type 1 diabetes is tough. It strikes at a time in life when children really don't have any experience in dealing with these types of emotions. If any of these symptoms are present in our children we must not ignore them. It can't be overstated; depression should be treated by a mental health professional. That's the bad news.

The good news is that depression is very treatable. Social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists agree that depression, if treated quickly and properly is only a temporary condition. We as parents can also help. We can find ways to spend extra time with our child. We need to let them know that they are not alone, that we will be with them every step of the way. At a time like this our children need our total presence and support. We also need to let them know that these feelings won't last forever and the steps we are taking will help them feel better. We might also encourage our children to join in group activities. Scouts, after school sports, and church groups are usually led by adults who really care about the children they are responsible for. We may also want to speak with our child's teacher and the school social worker. If we make them aware they may be able to help and encourage our children. They will be much closer during the day to your child than you can be.

Most communities have a variety of mental health organizations that we can turn to. Your family doctor or the hospital that is treating your child may also be a source of information for finding help. When we recognize the symptoms and take action we can help our children live a healthy normal life.


Russell Turner is the father of a 10 year old diabetic daughter. After she was diagnosed he soon discovered he could find all sorts of medical information on the internet. What he couldn't find was how to prepare his child and family for living with this disease. He started his own website for parents of newly diagnosed diabetic children:

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