Promote the mental health of the family of a diabetic child

Cairo: Dr. Hani Ramzy Awad

There is no doubt that type 1 diabetes completely changes a child’s life, leaving lasting physical and psychological effects on him. Of course, the psychological impact includes all family members; Especially the parents.
The most recent study of families of children with diabetes indicated that the parents and relatives of these children may be more likely to suffer from mental illness, compared to the parents of other children; Where the illness of their children at a young age puts more psychological pressure on them than others.

Psychological stress

The study, carried out by scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden, and published at the beginning of August of this year in the journal Diabetes Care, indicated that the genetic factor may play an important role in the injury of relatives with mental illnesses. In addition to the stress on them as a result of the injury of a family member. She stressed the importance of having a full examination of the psychological and mental illnesses of the affected child and his family as well.
The researchers explained that the real problem is that all examinations are directed at the child only, not the whole family. For example, the guidelines of the International Association of Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes, do not adequately meet the psychological needs of family members, and do not look for symptoms of anxiety and depression in parents especially, who are at risk of mental health problems as children.
It is known that the prevalence of poor mental state for parents after their children have type 1 infection ranges between 10 percent and 74 percent. On average, the rate is 33.5 per cent at diagnosis, and 19 per cent of fathers after infection between 1 and 4 years. The negative psychological state ranged from simple to severe distress. This may be a result of seeing the child suffering from stress and depression. Most importantly, the psychological distress of the parents had negative effects on dealing with their children’s illness, taking into account the regulation of food, and adhering to the doses of treatment as a result of the parents’ feeling of guilt about the children’s injury.
The researchers reviewed data and tracked nearly 3.5 million people who were born in Sweden between 1973 and 2007, and also examined data for their parents, full siblings and half-brothers, as well as relatives such as cousins ​​and first- and second-degree relatives. Of these people, there were more than 20,000 A person diagnosed in childhood with type 1 diabetes. These researchers found had nearly twice the risk of depression and about 1.6 times the risk of anxiety and stress-related disorders than those without the disease.

hard care
The researchers also found through the medical history that the fathers of affected children and their siblings were more likely to develop anxiety and stress-related disorders, while the incidence among half-brothers and cousins ​​was lower than the rest of the family, but there is still a slightly higher risk of their injury than normal people. . They said the findings suggest that genetic factors may play a role in the infection. Because parents, children, and siblings share genetic material (about 50 percent) more than non-siblings (about 25 percent), as well as cousins ​​(less than 12.5 percent), these results must be taken into account during treatment until Group psychotherapy.
Doctors should keep in mind that caring for a child with type 1 is a stressful family experience that requires constant vigilance and a change in daily routine. Parents live with constant anxiety about hypoglycemia, as well as a sense of responsibility for the child’s health in general, as well as the constant tension from the impact of the disease on academic achievement, in addition to the fact that the parents’ condition affects communication between family members in general, increases family disputes, and reduces The child’s self-confidence and psychological support.
The study advised parents of the need to know sufficient information about the child’s illness from doctors and specialized medical sites, to optimally deal with the disease and control various negative feelings, such as guilt in particular, knowing that diabetes is basically an immune disease, and therefore there are no special precautions that parents could have use it. Also, it must be known that it is perfectly normal for them to feel sad when their children are injured; But they must get rid of these feelings after a short time.
The study emphasized the need for parents to observe the psychological state of the sick child’s brothers; Because they may feel negative feelings as a result of the increased interest in the sick child, or resentment as a result of depriving them of certain foods rich in sugars, which can be likable to them, in addition to that there are some brothers who are concerned about the possibility of becoming ill, such as a brother, and also that Their condition worsens as a result of their grief for the injured brother; Because it is subject to a strict regime in food, sports and treatment.

family problem
In the end, the study emphasized the need to deal with diabetes as an integrated family problem in terms of health and social, and although the disease accompanies the child for the rest of his life, good control of glucose levels through treatment makes the patient a normal person just like the rest of the peers, and he is not exposed for complications.
* Consultant Pediatrician


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