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D'Alberton, F. Nardi, L. Zucchini, S. (2012). The onset of a chronic disease as a traumatic psychic experience: A psychodynamic survey on type 1 diabetes in young patients. Psychoanal. Psychother., 26(4):294-307.

(2012). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 26(4):294-307

The onset of a chronic disease as a traumatic psychic experience: A psychodynamic survey on type 1 diabetes in young patients

Franco D'Alberton , Laura Nardi and Stefano Zucchini

Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM 1) is a chronic disease with a sudden onset often during childhood and adolescence. The onset of diabetes implies a radical change in personal and family habits. The right insulin therapy accompanied by a correct diet and physical activity is required in order to reduce hypoglycaemic and hyperglycaemic episodes, and the outcome of long-term diabetic complications is first and foremost a medical problem. It is well known, however, that despite many medical and technical developments, metabolic control in children and adolescents with IDDM 1 has not improved as much as it had been expected. It is only in recent years that clinicians have focused on other factors that may be involved in the process of treating diabetes. The sudden onset of this chronic illness often has the features of a traumatic emotional experience that exceeds the subject's resilience and capacity to deal with it and elaborate it in psychic terms. This paper explores some of the anxieties that may influence a good adherence to the medical therapy, taking into account the possible influence of the psychic trauma that may frequently be associated with the onset of a chronic illness.

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