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Frank Reynold

How Children’s Type1 Diabetes Affect Parents’ Mental Health

Frank Reynold

Managing diabetes requires some sort of strict life style to making control of medicines prescribed by doctor so as to take command of one’s diet. This managing challenge increases when the affected person is a young person or adolescent and has type 1 diabetes. The latter is a metabolic disease that usually affects young people under age of 18 and necessitates insulin replacement therapy for life.

Families then and parents in particular, have to deal with the matter and ensure an effective management of the disease and medication.

This life style with all the daily treatment demands raises a lot of worries for parents. Fighting to prevent any health complications for their loved ones increases emotional pressure. A recently published study which is carried by a group of researchers from England highlighted the issue and investigated the association between glycaemic control of type 1 diabetes and mental health issues within the family.

The study which is published in Pediatrics Research International Journal studied the case of 66 families. The research stated that “as well as an increase in emotional symptoms, there was also an increased level of externalising behaviour if the glycaemic control was sub-optimal. This has been recognised as a significant influence upon the quality of glycaemic control, with externalising symptoms tending to exacerbate parent–adolescent conflict and hence, reducing cooperation over treatment.”

The firm vigilance required keeping the balance in controlling the child or teenager’s diet and maintaining optimal glycaemic control causes negative experience for parents and this may raise health issues. Researchers stated that “given the constant strain, these issues must prompt, it would not be surprising to find parents develop symptoms of stress and even frank mental illness, such as depression.”

Among the effects of parents’ deal with their affected siblings “research has shown that some parents experience a decrease in the level of enjoyment they gain from being a parent because of the worry, and this is especially so if there is a conflict about the management of the diabetes with the young person, and worry that the young person may have a hypoglycaemic episode.”

Parental fears and worries can be reflected on diabetic young people’s psychology and change in their behavior. Mainly the mother is more affected than the father. Researchers noted that “maternal depressive symptoms are one of the strongest risk factors for predicting the young person’s own mental health…if the mother has depressive symptoms this predicts an increased risk of perhaps 2.6 fold that the child will develop depressive symptoms later in life”.

For these psychological effects that managing young diabetic situation has on parents, researchers insisted on the importance of mental health screening. As stated in the study, researchers stressed on “the importance of mental health screening in routine review clinics, and emphasises the need for clinic staff to recognise that sub-optimal glycaemic control is likely to be associated with symptoms of distress, and disruption which may not be plainly evident.”

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