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From the State of Washington, USA:

My 13 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago. He seems to be depressed and having trouble with his memory and concentration, especially at school, which in turn has seriously affected what used to be good grades. He doesn't seem to be interested in friends or activities other than sitting around reading or playing alone on his computer. Is this normal? What kind of help is available to someone his age?


It is difficult for me to assess this situation, not knowing your son before the diagnosis of diabetes. However, two things occur to me in reading your question.

First, at age 13 or 14, it is not at all unusual for kids to want lots of "space" and autonomy. Some of my patients rarely emerged from their rooms from age 13 to age 15! If their parents had put a refrigerator in the child's room, they might never have come out! That may or may not fit your son's pattern.

Second, the first year of diabetes is the time of getting used to things. The second year is just plain boring and monotonous! The response may be to withdraw from normal activities and feel "different" from peers. Isolation breeds depression. How is your child's appetite? How is his sleep? Does he talk about feeling "worthless, hopeless"? These can be red flags for depression.

I would encourage you to partner with your child and speak with his physician together about the changes you have noticed. You are wise to question the behavior changes at this age.


Original posting 1 Apr 1998
Posted to Behavior


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