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Health Forum    Diabetes
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Can emotional instability be a symptom of diabetes?
I was just wondering, because my grandfather was a diabetic, and I also know that he was often emotionally unstable and even abusive towards his wife and children. And don't get me wrong. I know that most diabetics aren't violent or abusive, but a friend of mine who was abused by her mother would sometimes blame her mother's emotional instability on her diabetes. Can diabetes actually lead to violent mood swings in some people?

if your blood sugar is high it is possible to get violent but normally that isnt the case, you cant use your disease as an excuse, i have had type one diabetes for 7 years now and i have gotten mood swings becase of my blood sugars but like i said you cant use it as an excuse.

Emotional instability is a symptom of poorly controlled diabetes.

It is not a normal symptom of diabetics who have their condition well-controlled.

Though sometimes the blood glucose level elevates during bouts of illness (flu etc.) and high levels of stress, so the sufferer will appear irritable and moody.

If emotional instability and abuse becomes a regular pattern, the person should have their diabetes checked, or their psychiatric health checked. Or both.

Certainly, anything that causes systemic disequilibrium can also cause emotional instability as a side effect. If you just breath into a bag that will cause you to behave like a loony w/in minutes.

kind of, but.....mild strokes can do the same thing. I used to work at a nursing home and when a resident exhibited signs of extreme mood changes or a happy little old lady suddenly became Lizzy Borden, it was a warning sign and lots of time a mild stroke had occurred. Depression does it too as well as liver disease and chronic pain so there is no easy answer. Like another responder suggested, all symptoms of mood changes should be checked out.

Sort of - really high or really low blood sugar can cause emotional reactions. But I'm talking about off the charts highs and lows, not regular fluctuations. My son has type 1, he acted irrational and was somewhat combative with a blood sugar of 30 (which is quite low).
But a pattern of abuse is not a symptom of diabetes. Odd behavior from diabetes would not happen on a regular basis. Your friend was just trying to find a rational reason for her mother's irrational behavior.

Secret Asian Man
Most diabetics can have mood swings if their blood sugar is high or low. However, I believe abuse is a bit too much. If the sugar is low, you probably won't feel like hitting someone. If it's high... Maybe, but I highly doubt it. I have diabetes and have never felt the urge to hit someone when my sugar is out of whack.

Gary B
I don'tt know about the tendency towards violence, but diabetes can make people "irritable". "moody", and experience "mood swings".

BUT . . . .These symptoms go away when the diabetes is controlled. if the diabetes is controlled and the symptoms ar still present, then there are other problems that need to be investigated.

ALL cases of violence, mood swings, moodiness, etc, in both men and women, need to be investigated.

Iit is more likely that your grandfather suffered (or is still suffering) from depression. "Senile dementia" or Alzheimer's can also cause this problem.

Abuse of children is much more likely to be a mental problem rather than diabetes.

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