By: Ben Eastman
Don’t ignore kids with diabetes’ psychological health, say experts from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
In a paper published in the May 1996 New England Journal of Medicine, Alan Jacobson, MD, points out a child or adolescent with type I diabetes faces a great deal of psychological and social issues. Left untreated, these can lead to depression, eating disorders and a neglect of regular medical care.
A treatment program that takes the psychological and social impact of the disease into account is “the fundamental basis of more successful treatment,” says Jacobson.
Dr. Jacobson suggests allowing a person with diabetes to negotiate an effective treatment plan and allow him or her to participate actively in setting goals for care.
“Patients feel more comfortable when they feel hidden goals can be talked about more openly, without concern that they will receive a judgmental response,” says Dr. Jacobson. “Open-ended questions tend to encourage (people with type I diabetes) to disclose important information. Questions should be directed not only at specific issues, such as blood sugar readings, but also at identifying the patient’s concerns.”