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socks and cat

Diabetes as an addiction

I saw something last night on the show "Intervention" that surprised me. That show always has me riveted because I'm just fascinated and amazed at lifestyles and choices I know little to nothing about. And on this show the cameras follow EVERY aspect of the addicts life from watching them use and self destruct to interviewing their loved ones in depth to find out exactly how their choices are destroying the people they love.

Last night the featured person was not a drug addict exactly. It was an 18 year old boy who refused to manage his type 1 diabetes. When he was diagnosed at an early age, he managed it normally and lived a healthy life. But 3 years ago, as a teen, he just suffered too many devastating losses. He lost just enough will to live that he no longer wanted to manage his disease, but not enough will that he was willing just up and kill himself. So he simply started eating whatever he wanted to eat, not testing his blood sugar for days, and on the rare occasions he did inject insulin he simply guessed at what his blood sugar might be and guessed at his dosage. In the last 3 years he has nearly died, and been hospitalized, five times. The only reason he was alive at all is because he lived with his parents that had to constantly nag and remind him to inject. They are also the ones that found him and got him to the hospital when he nearly died. Both his parents are also very ill, his mother has two diseases that leave her in constant pain and will probably end her life early.

Upon interviewing the parents and people close to him, it was obvious that his refusal to treat his diabetes had pretty much the exact same effect on them as a drug addict refusing to stop taking drugs that will eventually kill them. I suppose it's just another form of addiction I don't understand yet. The intervention was effective because the parents said they would throw him out if he did not go into the treatment center. Basically his choices were treatment or death. You have to admire parents who are willing to take that risk to see their son recover. He didn't finish his 90 day treatment program, he was thrown out after 60 days for breaking a rule. But he said that in that 60 days, he learned WHY he was not managing his diabetes and how it was killing his family and so the treatment was enough and he now manages his diabetes. He has gained 35 pounds (he was very underweight before) and looks healthy. I found it interesting that he was prescribed 90 days of treatment when in fact 60 was all he needed. I wonder if doctors are also not familiar yet with this form of addiction and so didn't know how much treatment it would require.

Comments

..I wonder if it is a form of self-injury....
That makes sense.
Self-injury, yes.
Or that assigning 90 days was more of a standard and if, by luck/work/faith/whatever, he only needed 60 it's all for the better.

However it would be much much harder if they said 60 and then he needed another 30.




I love that show.
Doctors are QUITE familiar with people who don't manage their diabetes. Some do it just in the way of, 'I know my body, how I feel', or don't understand consequences, etc. Making an intervention of it is more of a new thing, for sure.