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From Danbury, Connecticut, USA:

Our son is 10 years old and has had type one diabetes for three years. He has started to show signs of depression and has actually said that he would rather be dead than be diabetic. We are very concerned and have gotten him into therapy. We are very interested to know about any studies or support groups that deal with depression in children with diabetes, and whether depression is common in children dealing with diabetes.

I am very anxious to hear from you.


Clinical depression is often a characteristic of persons living with a chronic condition like diabetes. The "daily-ness" of it all gets to be taxing even for the most mentally stable of individuals!

For children, in particular, I have tremendous compassion. At a time when their friends are seemingly carefree, these children have to contend with a lot of restrictions and fears. You have done the right thing by seeking counseling now. My hope is that the therapist has a working knowledge of diabetes and specifically diabetes in children.

If you do not see improvement in your child's situation within a reasonable time period, seek out a new therapist. Teen years are often the toughest and they remain ahead. It's better to lay a firm psychological groundwork beforehand!


[Editor's comment: It was not clear from your letter if your son is being seen by a non-physician counselor or a psychiatrist. If your son isn't responding to psychotherapy, antidepressant medications may be of very great help. Specialists in pediatric psychiatry who have access to a diabetes team can be found at most Children's Hospitals, and I would not hesitate to request a referral if the situation doesn't improve within a few months. WWQ]

Original posting 19 Jun 1998
Posted to Behavior


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