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Aggression and Type 1 Diabetes

Copyright (c) 2010 Paul Evans

You may know a person who is suffering, or has recently been diagnosed with, type 1 diabetes. You may not know too much about the disease and may wish to learn more about type 1 insulin dependent diabetes for yourself, or for someone you know with the illness who you wish to give support to. As type 1 diabetes is not as heavily discussed, or publicised, in the news, nor are the cause and effect variables as clearly understood as type 2 diabetes, it is sometimes difficult to uncover information about the disease.

You will notice that when a person is suffering an episode of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars caused by the individual expending too much energy/sugar that their body cannot replace naturally), they can often be very aggressive towards others during the hypoglycaemic attack. As a type 1 diabetic myself, I will try to explain the reasons behind these bouts of aggression in diabetes type 1 sufferers.

Firstly, when suffering a hypoglycaemic attack, a diabetic will lose control of their basic bodily functions (their hands may shake uncontrollably for instance). This can be a very frustrating experience for the individual who may take their anger, and feelings of insignificance, out on the person who is trying to help them.

Sometimes a type 1 diabetic does not know why their blood sugar levels have dropped so dramatically and this feeling of the unknown can make them feel vulnerable and annoyed. To the diabetic there may be no obvious reason to explain why their body has rebelled against them. Often, when a diabetic experiences a hypoglycaemic attack, their mind is functioning normally but they just cannot send a message from their brain to their body successfully. For example, they may be aware that their blood sugar levels are dropping but not have the capability to tell the person they are with. This can make the patient very frustrated, and the person they are with seem very stupid or patronising (to the diabetic) – especially if they continue to tell the sufferer that they think their blood sugar levels are low, without realising that the diabetic is already aware of this (but simply unable to communicate it).

Finally, unlike type 2 diabetes (which is generally a result of an unhealthy lifestyle choice), type 1 diabetes seems to be random in its choice of sufferers, with no obvious cause leading to the individual’s pancreas breaking down. To the person diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it can just seem like a stroke of very bad luck with no rhyme or reason behind it. This bad luck is then carried with them for the rest of their life.

All of the above can go, in some part, towards explaining why a diabetic may show feelings of resentment, anger and frustration towards others when suffering a hypoglycaemic attack (especially as, the experience of low blood sugars means the individual’s inhibitions and self control check is dramatically reduced) and we must try to understand that it is not meant as a personal attack to the person trying to help.


Source by Paul Evans

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