Diabetes - Type 1 Community
Troubled teen boy
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Troubled teen boy

Does anyone know of a residential treatment program for troubled teens with diabetes, preferably in FL?  My son refuses to take care of himself, and, at 16, is too old and large for me to take his numbers and give him shots, not to mention drug use, defiant, failing at school, and basically failing at life in general.  We are desperately seeking help for him, and I KNOW that I cannot have the only depressed teen with diabetes on earth.  Please help me.
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Actually, MANY type 1 teens are depressed. I am one of the folks on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's (JDRF's) Online Diabetes Support Team, and we recieve many e-mails from troubled teens. Most of the boys who write to us are angry, while most of the girls are depressed. Unfortunately, the folks who give the official answers to the questions on this Forum and the folks who answer the e-mails as a voice for JDRF cannot recommend doctors or treatment centers on behalf of the Research Center. We CAN, however, send you to the JDRF web site (jdrf.org) and have you click on the "life with diabetes" link to bring up the page where you can click on the "one-to-one support" link. This will enable you to contact the Online Diabetes Support Team (ODST) and you can ask to be put in touch with other parents who have gone through the same problems.

Again, they will not be able to recommend specific programs in FL for legal reasons, but they CAN have the nearest local chapter of JDRF contact you so you can meet other people with similar issues. At that level, after being contacted by the local JDRF chapter, some people may be able to make recommendations to you as you get connected on the local level with other families.

Yes, other families deal with depression and anger, and we get requests all the time dealing with this issue. If your son is willing to communicate with us on the online support team, we have teen diabetics who can communicate with him from experience and we have online folks, myself included, who can offer support to you.

I most heartily recommend that you get your son into professional counseling. At his age, I realize that he may refuse to cooperate, but you still control the keys to the car, and you still control some areas of his life as long as he lives at home. Counseling for depression would be a good start. And contacting the JDRF ODST as I have mentioned in the above paragraph may also put you in touch with local support. I wish you the best.
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I just recieved an e-mail from the woman who will be answering your ODST request. She is a wonderful person who also has a diabetic son a few years older than yours. She may be a great resource for you, and you may feel better able to cope after corresponding with her. I am so glad that you are not giving up on your son, but are seeking support and other resources.

I want to share with you a true story about another young woman (college age) who wrote to us at ODST, fearing that she was turning into something she didn't like after being angry at the world since her diagnosis. I took this request and have been communicating with her and have seen a remarkable change of attitude. She seems to have been able to find a peace with her situation and I truly believe the correspondence has helped her find an outlet for her emotions. While no two teens are alike and we of course cannot promise miraculous changes in his life, we parents can never give up our efforts on behalf of our kids. I happen to be the type 1 diabetic in my family, and I fully understand how lonely and sometimes frightening the walk of a young type 1 diabetic can be. In my case, I have lived with the disease for 34 years and am doing well. Let's hope your son benefits by your efforts to seek help for him, and that he can find healthier outlets for his needs at this age. He should know that his mom cares for him deeply in that you cared enough to seek help. You will hear from your ODST response person soon.
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If you are able to have your son seen by a psychiatrist, I'd recommend it highly.  Your story sounds very similar to our story with my stepdaughter (who's not diabetic; I am).  Turns out she has bipolar disorder (manic-depression) and when she's on meds, her sweet loving soul reemerges and she engages in life in very healthy ways.  We knew nothing of this psychiatric disorder and are learning.  It's no picnic, but there is a modicum of comfort from knowing there is an underlying reason -- well outside of the child's control -- that has contributed to the defiant, self-destructive behavior.

Depression is not uncommon among those of us with chronic diseases.  Bi-polar is also now more "looked for" among younger & younger folks -- where traditionally it was thought to emerge only in adulthood.  Now researchers understand that it does emerge in children, too.

I wish you the strength & faith to work thru all of this.  I do remember all too well the terror and powerlessness we felt (and still feel when she goes off her meds.  I believe that ODST folks will be a terrific support for you, too.
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Avatar_n_tn
I've been there.  I know what he's going through.  And at times, I still am at that stage.  This is what it's like:

To put it bluntly - imagine every waking moment of every day with the realization that the condition you have is one where no one can fix and that it will never go away and that you have no real idea how you got it in the first place.  

Imagine being a soldier on a battlefield - where you arrive only to find out that you lost the battle before you even knew there was one in the first place.  And it was a battle you couldn't have won anyway.

You get diagnosed and your life as you knew it is suddenly is destroyed - and destroyed is a mild way to put it.  

You want to lash out at everyone and anything because you feel helpless in knowing there's not a thing in the world you can do.  

If you're religious - you pray for deliverance and miracles that never come.  When your prayers go unanswered and not a single angel comes to your aide - you tell God to kiss your butt and flip him/her/it the bird.  To you - God is dead.

You look at your own body and go "Well, if you want to destroy yourself, be my guest you defective piece of junk."

Acceptance?  Doctors and counselors always love to throw that word out there.  Who in their right mind would accept something as horrible as this?

Control?  Another word that bounces off you like a lead brick.  Heck, if you could "control" this chronic illness, you could tell it to "go away."

At first you're scared - especially when you're told all the horrible things Diabetes can and will eventually lead to.  

Then you get extremely angry - especially at those who don't have Diabetes and stuff their faces full of food and sweets you can no longer have.  You get to the point where you believe you don't have to be nice to anyone ever again.  You were a good person before this happened and you still got this.  What's the point being a good person now?  If you're not Diabetic, you're not worth the time of day to me so get of my way jerk.

Then, after awhile when you've vented to the point where your anger is all used up, you get depressed.  The "this is with me forever and it hurts" feeling sinks in.  Because you're not really all that hateful.  You're just miserable.  And you hope you haven't run all your friends and family away.
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Avatar_n_tn
Damn tony...that's exactly how I felt! I'm now 22 years old with a 2 year old daughter so now I really have no choice but to battle this bull! I still have all of those feelings that you expressed and it seems like you just have to distract yourself from that depression.  At least that's what I try to do.  I used to be the same way as your son and I did everything I could to destroy myself...it's amazing I'm not already dead! You name it and I did it...Drugs? oh yeah, meth, x, you name it.  I once went for six months without a shot of insulin and just laid in bed and got up once in awhile to eat and go to the bathroom.  I went through it all...but for some reason one day I decided to get off my lazy *** and stop feeling sorry for myself when there are millions of people out there with a lot worse going on.  Diabetes sucks, yes, but it doesn't mean your son isn't going to wake up and smell the coffee one day and see that there is worse and that maybe there is something waiting in his future.  I don't know...I guess I'm still negative but come on...you gotta break sometime or else why would you be here?
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Avatar_n_tn
I read the problem about your son and i have juts gone through the same problem. Im a 15 year old girl who just didnt care and I know exactly how he feels but not caring for urself isnt going to solve anything. Suicide was on my mind but I knew i would never do it and somehow through friends, sports, and school I pulled through. My email is ***@**** if your son would like to contact me.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been in the same situation. I'm 16, was deep in drugs and alcohol and not taking care of my diabetes.
You know what you should do, in my opinion, is let him know about this site. He can come on here and talk with other type one diabetics. This is the best way I find to slowly accepting the disease, or at least hearing other people's struggles and relating to them. And, hearing other peoples success is a great motivator to making yourself healthy.
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Avatar_n_tn
Christian school is another good option for troubled teens. The parent’s of defiant child can admit their teens in Christian school because it has many good and life changing teaching for those teens. The  troubled adolescent religious schools  are offering religious based educational which is very helpful for troubled behavior change.

http://www.strugglingteen.net/

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Avatar_f_tn
I agree that you get your son into professional counseling or bring him to residential treatment facilityfor better diagnosis and treatment. I know its not easy decision but it will you a lot and for your son.  
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jemma116
United Kingdom