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From Austin, Texas, USA:

I am a therapist counseling a couple, one of which is 44, was diagnosed as Type 1 as a baby and is "very brittle". He uses his disease as an excuse to lash out at his family and sometimes becomes somewhat violent. I am curious if his extreme fluctuations are a valid excuse for his behavior? He checks his sugar about 4 times a day. I am also interested in the psychosocial effects of diabetes and where I could find out about the emotional correlation.


Diabetes is not an excuse for bad behavior. However, in my practice I have seen relationships strained by the emotional toll of the disease. You do not mention the level of stability in this man's blood glucose levels. He may test four times a day, but what are his results? If he is having really rocky lows and highs, then certainly his moods may also fluctuate. Again, this is not an excuse for bad behavior!

Fortunately, there are many new books available on the psychosocial aspects of chronic disease, and diabetes in particular. This is not an adequate forum to mention them all. Call your local Borders or Barnes and Noble to investigate which titles will assist you in your practice.

I do wish you well. Having counseled couples,individuals, teens and children, I am convinced that much of the "therapy" issues get dumped onto the diagnosis of diabetes. This is not fair. Asthma, sickle cell disease, lupus, etc. are all chronic diseases too, yet I do not hear much about how it is okay to abuse someone else because one has such a condition!


Original posting 4 May 1998
Posted to Behavior


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