Diabetes with "A Side of Attention Deficit Disorder"

ForgotkeysDue to Blood Sugar’s Impact on Development, a lot of people with diabetes face short and long-term issues with attention and memory. There’s research on it, but no one likes to talk about it, because it means that there’s another issue we have to deal with.

When living with diabetes, it’s hard to look at other problems. Growing up with extremely high, prolonged highs, as well as extreme lows, that are hard to avoid when living with diabetes, causes short and long-term problems with a child’s cognitive abilities to retain information, recall & focus. What happens is that radical shifts in blood sugars create scarring on the frontal lobe as well as reduces gray matter, which impairs our ability to function correctly and do what we need to do to manage our diabetes. When we’re managing our diabetes, we require that focus that Attention Deficit Disorder takes away.

A lot of times when we’re living with attention deficit and diabetes we remember to give our shot, but a split second later we forget. I call that a slip of the mind. A lot of my clients have this issue and have talked about the problems it causes with their management and how it makes them feel stupid.

One of the unfortunate things is that this issue of attention deficit disorder is co-morbid with diabetes. Improving blood sugars while growing up helps. If you’ve already gone through your childhood and you’re now an adult, medications do help. Medications for Attention Deficit Disorder will not resolve all of the issues you are facing but improves the ability to process information needed for management as well as all areas of life. Oh, yes the medications will enhance memory and cognitive functioning making life a bit easier.

Medications won’t resolve all your problems. Many emotional and management issues with diabetes need to be talked through, and that’s where therapy helps.

It’s important to take a look to see how your memory is doing and yes sometimes high blood Sugar’s, “Sometimes!” all the time, high blood Sugar’s will cause problems in this area. That’s what makes it so difficult to figure out. Is it diabetes or does it have to do with this co-morbid issue of Attention Deficit Disorder? Ah! Co-morbid, I hate that word, but it accurately describes the relationship between Attention deficit disorder and diabetes.

When you have diabetes, and you get it at an early age, due to the shifting blood sugars, you’re going to end up with attention deficit disorder inattentive type, and most people don’t see it.

Most doctors and people in general only look for the hyper piece. Since most people struggle to see the inattentive type, a lot of children and adults don’t get the attention they need. Some children end up in special education while others struggle through school. Some children with diabetes and Attention deficit disorder excel at school because they’re hyper-focusing during their classes.

Attention deficit disorder isn’t a lack of attention or no attention; it’s that attention is either the inability to focus on just one thing or overly focused, where all your energy is going to a single task. Where the person hyper-focuses and the rest the world disappears.

If a person with Attention Deficit Disorder is reading a book, they love they might hyper-focus through it, causing 12 hours to go by without testing blood sugars, drinking or eating anything all day. Now, this creates a lot of problems; the person may miss appointments, get to work late and many others.

The biggest problem is its impact on managing diabetes. Attention Deficit disorder reduces our ability to manage diabetes properly. Slippage of mind, causes a person to forget to give their insulin and this is just one of many problem hyper and hypo-focus causes. Everybody is forgetful to one degree or another, but it’s important to get this checked out if you’re living with diabetes.

If you’re struggling with recalling memories, remembering things that come more naturally to other, slippage of mind, focusing or if you believe you’re living with it and diabetes, please reach out and give me a call.

To schedule your first in-person or online Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy Session call (917) 272-4829 or email me at eliot.lebow@gmail.com.

Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977. If you don’t have a mental health provider with an understanding of diabetes, I have spent years helping people living with diabetes resolve issues like this in my New York Office and Online. You can call me at (917) 272-4829, and we can discuss the issues you face and how therapy can help.

If you want more information on Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy; check out my website: www.diabetictalks.com.


Medical Disclaimer:

All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.

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