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The Question
Thu Dec 02 15:01:13 EST 2010

I have heard the term "diabetic rage" and seen a few occurances of such. What is this termed as?
Asked By: lookn4answers  

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extreme anger, mood swings associated with either high or low glucose levels. I am looking for some resourses for research
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Expert Answers (1)
2010-12-06 21:07:02.0

Thanks for writing dLife. It is true that emotions, stress, depression and diabetes management are all interconnected. Physiological changes in the body and especially the brain are very influential on emotion and mood and we also know that when people are stressed, depressed and anxious, they are less likely to take care of themselves and adhere to diabetes management routines. Quite often, eating behaviors, such as overeating, binge eating and night eating are also related to emotional issues which then adversely impact blood sugar levels. Our link on dLife to more information on these issues can be found under the 7 self care behaviors tab and then under the heading "Healthy Coping". There also may be separate and unrelated emotional or psychological problems that coexist at the same time as diabetes which should be diagnosed and properly treated by a physician/psychiatrist. Remember, physical health and mental health are very intricately related and are both very important to attend to in diabetes management. Be sure to discuss such concerns with a physician for direction and advice. Best of luck to you!
Answered By: Janice Baker
Accreditations: B.Sc., MBA, RD, CDE, CNSC, BC-ADM
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Community Answers (7)
2010-12-28 11:12:32.0

As a consulting dietitian in psychiatric facilities, in my experience, psychiatrists generally fail to take glucose induced mood swings into account to any degree whatsoever. I couldn't begin to count the number of diabetic patients I have encountered who self admitted to psychiatric institutions for bipolar behavior and/or rage behavior, who had never been informed by any healthcare provider of the potential for such as related to their diabetes. Most of these unfortunate individuals had already alienated friends and family by these 'unpredictable' behaviors. Usually a careful analysis of events preceding the self-admissions revealed an extremely poor control with wild swings between very high and very low blood sugars for some years prior. One of the most depressing things about depression is the inability to reason out a cause for it, the feeling of complete unpredictability of the rage episodes, the deeply ennervating fatigue that accompanies hyperglycemia, the depression and indecisiveness accompanying hypoglycemia, etc. Giving these folks an understanding of the effects of blood sugar on their mood and behavior is hugely empowering. They may still indeed have mental illnesses that require intervention, but may not have been driven to in-patient services if only they had been educated at the time of diagnosis of their diabetes, or at the time of initiation of their hypoglycemic medications. If it were in my power to assure education of all physicians as to the paramount importance of educating their patients on this topic, I would be so grateful. As it is, we'll just have to spread the word ourselves!
Answered By: kendrard

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2010-12-25 09:24:04.0

The expert answer was obviously given by someone who does not have diabetes. As a diabetic, I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. For me, it is during the highs that I become a fire-breathing crazy person. The lows make me extremely docile. Try not to aggravate the diabetic when they are high or low and wait to react to any hostile behavior until they have been treated and are feeling better. Generally, all is right again with the universe when the sugars get back to normal. :)
Answered By: meagan0613

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2010-12-25 02:53:47.0

The expert was discussing abstract mental health issues, but it seems clear that all the community answers are addressing extreme high or low blood sugar. I'm also emotionally effected by extremely low BGs, sometimes crying, sometimes extremely angry. If I've been sleeping, and my husband knows I'm low, I apparently fight him as he tries to wake me up and make me suck juice through a straw. This is not like me at all. I'm a very gentle, tolerant person, and I always assume the best intentions in others. While I have almost no memory of the sleep/waking incidents with my husband, I do know why I get so upset when I'm awake and my BG drops. As it's going down, I don't really feel it, and I probably am not thinking about my BG, because I've just eaten, or there's some other reason I think it's fine. As it gets lower, I find myself struggling to follow storylines on TV, or conversations with others, and, some how, it begins to feel like everyone around me is inexplicably trying to vex and confuse me. About that time, everything explodes. I'm just mortified after I get my BG up, and it's clear that my thinking was totally goofy ...
Answered By: sunflowersue

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2010-12-25 00:33:06.0

I am with all of you I find no answer in the professional answer. But when you ask any questions about the mental side of this condition, rage, suicide, depression. You get twice around the flag pole and a dodge. But remember we are diabetics if they don't discuss it we will most likely never think about it. But then the first five minuets of all of my checkups are suicide questions, and the nurse always apologies for asking but tells me it just part of the required procedure The big difference for me is the rage comes on the other side for me. It when my blood is running high and my hands turn to ice. This is when my temper is on hair triger,
Answered By: dunigan

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2010-12-24 13:58:09.0

Huh?! All I know is that when I am having low blood sugar, the 'beast' comes out in me and all I can think of is trying to get rid of that feeling...DO NOT STAND IN MY WAY!!
Answered By: nulungs95

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2010-12-24 13:49:34.0

I agree with the first commenter. The expert advice didn't seem to say anything useful.

I get "diabetic rage" that is, my triggers for anger are very sensitive, when I'm hungry and dealing with stress. I remember trying to return something at the store and waiting in line forever to find the clerk unresponsive. I was yelling at her and popping raisins at the same time. My blood sugars felt like they were falling fast. By time the raisins kicked in, the clerk had capitulated and I was feeling good. I am normally a patient person. This was different.

Before I knew I had diabetes I remember being on vacation in northern Arizona where food is hard to find. We had food in the trunk, but my husband was not responding to my request for food. He didn't want to stop on the Indian reservation. I began to cry and he finally stopped at a small local eating place. My stew and fried bread tasted like the most wonderful food I'd ever eaten. We just didn't know I was diabetic. Now he stops if I ask him to.

Answered By: marilynnes

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2010-12-24 11:51:15.0

Was that "expert answer" any kind of answer at all? I'm certainly not any closer to knowing what is meant by "diabetic rage" after reading that. Maybe I'm just being cranky because I'm low, though.
Answered By: jpnairn

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*** All information contained on dLife.com is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our Expert Q&A is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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