Treatment for Diabetes in Tinton Falls, NJ
Diabetes is the third most common chronic disease among adolescents. Type I diabetes alone affects 2 out of every 1,000 American youths (Lawrence et al., 2006), and about 13,000 youths are diagnosed each year. Even Type II diabetes, which was once called adult-onset diabetes, accounts for 15-20% of the American population (Approximately 5 million children) due to the large childhood obesity epidemic
The need for those with diabetes to form good diabetic management can be frustrating and add a significant amount of stress to everyday life. Children with diabetes must deal with a complicated routine of daily insulin injection, along with monitoring blood glucose levels, dietary intake, and exercise. All of this must be conducted while the child still lives “a normal life”. Adolescents have described feeling unable to be spontaneous in their lives and feeling “burned out” from daily diabetic care. This feeling can be heightened, especially in adolescents who are already experiencing difficulties in social, familial, or academic functioning. Moreover, those with diabetes are up to 50% more likely to develop mental illness, including depression and anxiety, which stem from dysfunctional illness beliefs, low self-efficacy, and difficulties adjusting to living with the chronic illness (Das-Munshi et al., 2007). Additionally, poorly controlled blood sugar can cause behavioral changes, such as irritability, unusual behavior, confusion, headaches, lack of coordination, restless sleep, bad dreams or nightmares, blurry vision, trouble focusing, etc.
Adolescents with Diabetes
Adolescents with diabetes are at greater risk for developing a psychological disorder. The emotional/behavioral challenges that are considered “normal” in adolescence can actually become exacerbated by the stress of diabetes, and may even undermine diabetes self-management. Research has shown that difficulty managing diabetes increases during the preadolescent and adolescent stages, influenced by hormonal and developmental factors (Holmes et al., 2006). Consequently, a decline in glycemic control is observed during this period, increasing the risk of short and long-term complications. In fact, 65% of hospitalizations for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) involve patients under 19 years old. Risk factors for DKA include poor metabolic control, eating disorders, depression, and other psychiatric disorders. Additionally, adolescents with diabetes have higher rates of depression than those without the disease; roughly 25% of adolescents with Type I diabetes have comorbid depression (Norris & Klingensmith, 2001). Since self-management of diabetes is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and subsequent long-term outcomes, it is recommended that healthcare professionals screen adolescents with diabetes for depression, anxiety, and other mental health difficulties and make appropriate referrals