Mental Health Archives - Active Healthcare

Mental Health for Teens with Type 1 Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment   ,

Research shows that diabetics are at higher risk for mood disorders and other mental illness. During the often tumultuous teenage years, it’s important for parents and caregivers of teens with diabetes to understand how diabetes and mental health interact.

Why mental health is crucial for teens with diabetes

teen mental healthAccording to the American Diabetes Association, diabetic teens tend to show 2-3 times the rate of psychological distress than their peers without diabetes.

Living with diabetes is not easy and can add to the other stress that teens experience. Stress has a negative effect on diabetes, leading to a feedback loop if both a teen’s stress and diabetes are not managed correctly.

Here are some tips for supporting the mental health of teens with diabetes.

Encourage independence

Every teenager wants to be more independent, including those with diabetes. New technology can make it easier than ever for teens to take on a larger role in their diabetes care. Cell phone apps can sync to continuous glucose monitors (see our previous blog “The 411 on CGM” for more information), allowing teens to take initiative while their parents are kept in the loop with automatic updates.

Prioritize self-care

The busy lives of teens can leave no room for personal time to recharge. Especially during stressful times like finals, encourage your teen to take short breaks. Spending a few minutes to take a walk, listen to music, or do something else enjoyable can do wonders to lower stress.

Build a foundation of self-esteem and acceptance

Insecurity can cause teens with diabetes to try and hide their condition from peers. From a young age, educate your child about diabetes and how each part of their diabetes management plan is important. This will instill self-confidence and a greater sense of self-understanding in your child.

Be aware of warning signs

Early detection of psychological distress is important, especially for teens with diabetes. If you notice your teen has lost interest in their favorite activities or has unexpectedly lost or gained weight, check in with your teen and consider getting the help of a professional if needed.

Take care of your own mental health as a caregiver

Several studies have shown that caregivers of children with diabetes have a higher likelihood of depression. While caring for your child, don’t neglect your own mental health. Try joining a local support group for parents of children with type 1 diabetes. Talking with other parents in the same situation can do wonders to boost your outlook.

Wellness of body and mind for diabetic teens is possible

The teenage years are the best time to develop good habits for both physical and mental health. For teens with diabetes, these good habits allow a smooth transition into self-sufficient diabetes management in adulthood.

Additional Resources

ADA Position Statement

JDRF (Triangle/Eastern NC ) – Support Resources for Parents of Children with Type 1 Diabetes

CDC: Diabetes & Mental Health

Teen Focus: Dangerous Duo Type 1 Diabetes and Drinking

Can Diabetes Give You The Blues?

The Lowdown on Stress and Diabetes


Childhood Trauma Linked to Increased Risk of Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment  

Doctors don’t know the exact cause of type 1 diabetes, but a new study shows that childhood trauma is linked to an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Researchers polled over 10,000 Swedish families and discovered that children who had experienced a trauma were nearly three times more likely to develop type 1 diabetes. Scientists questioned families about the occurrence of childhood stressors like divorce, illness or a death in the family. Researchers questioned families in southeast Sweden with children born between October 1997 and September 1999.

Dr. Johnny Ludvigsson, coauthor of the study, said that he’s not surprised by the results because of the “connections between the brain and immune system.” Doctors believe type 1 diabetes could be caused by genetics or environmental factors, like exposure to a virus. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system starts destroying insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. After many islet cells are destroys, the body produces little to no insulin.

Although this study shows a link between a stressful childhood event and an increased risk of type 1 diabetes, it doesn’t prove that those events cause type 1 diabetes. Dr. David Marrero, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, says that although you can’t say a childhood trauma was the direct result of your child developing diabetes, it’s worth making an effort to avoid exposing children to high stress events. Encouraging children to eat right and exercise frequently is also an important step in preventing type 2 diabetes.

Additional Resources:


Getting a Grip on Diabetes and Depression

Lisa Feierstein Breathe EZ, Diabetes 1

Diabetes and its relationship to depression is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Doctors and researchers don’t fully understand the relationship between diabetes and depression, but they do have some insight on how diabetes and depression can cause and exacerbate symptoms of each other.

Let’s start with diabetes. Managing diabetes can at times be overwhelming, it can lead to other health problems, and ultimately these stressors can cause symptoms of depression. On the flip side, depression can lead to diabetes if as a result of depression, an individual starts making poor eating choices, exercises less frequently, and/or smokes. These actions plus weight gain are all risk factors for diabetes. As depression worsens, it can affect a patient’s ability to focus and communicate clearly which in turn can make managing diabetes harder.

Since diabetes and depression often go hand in hand, it’s key to address your physical and mental wellbeing. Taking the right medications, seeking therapy, and healthy eating combined with frequent exercise are just a few methods to manage both depression and diabetes. If you need assistance managing your diabetes, call one of our caring professionals to handle your insulin pump, Continuous Glucose Monitor and testing supply needs.


  • Have a question or comment?
     
    You can contact us via email button below or submit an online contact form

    Contact

css.php