Experiences of alcohol drinking among Swedish youths with type 1 diabetes

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Experiences of alcohol drinking among Swedish youths with type 1 diabetes

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Experiences of alcohol drinking among Swedish youths with type 1 diabetes
Author(s) Leger, Annette ; Stölten, Charlotte ; Bolmsjö, Ingrid
Date 2009
English abstract
Background: Alcohol consumption in Europe and North America is greatest in 18-25-year-olds. This behaviour can be seen as a transitional stage from childhood to adulthood, where consuming alcohol is perceived as a typical feature of adult behaviour. Youths often start to consume alcohol when they are 14-15 years of age, and one in five youngsters around 15 years of age report binge drinking. Studies of alcohol consumption among youths with type 1 diabetes have not been undertaken but it is well known that, in these people, alcohol drinking can cause hypoglycaemia and worsen the capacity to feel and interpret the symptoms of hypoglycaemia. Aim: The overall aim was to explore experiences of alcohol consumption among youths with type 1 diabetes. Another objective was to identify strategies as to how they deal with situations when they drink alcohol. Methods: Semistructured interviews with ten 18-year-old youths with type 1 diabetes, using Burnard's content analysis method. Results: This study illustrates that informants strive for security, independence and control. Frequency of binge drinking did not seem to differ from rates in other teenagers. Informants exposed themselves to considerable risks and many had met with serious incidents. Moreover, the result exemplifies how symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (such as nausea and vomiting) can easily be misinterpreted as a hangover or gastroenteritis. Informants lacked age-appropriate knowledge about diabetes and the effects of alcohol, but had tested things out themselves; some involved their friends in their diabetes treatment. Moreover, three strategies occurred with the aim of normalisation and security: the 'low-consumption' strategy, the 'ambitious' strategy and the 'rather-high-than-dead' strategy. Fear of hypoglycaemia was a significant concern and the consequence was poor diabetes control. Conclusion: To increase youths' independence and security, the diabetes care team should provide adequate and relevant information about alcohol. Treatment plans might contain practical steps such as advice about responsible alcohol intake and adjustments of insulin and meals, and could also encourage young people with diabetes to carry diabetes ID and inform friends about hypoglycaemia (and how to handle situations involving alcohol)..
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/edn.126 (link to publisher's fulltext)
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Host/Issue European Diabetes Nursing;1
Volume 6
ISSN 1551-7853
Pages 10-16
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) alcohol drinking
trends
Sweden
Medicine
Research Subject Categories::MEDICINE
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/14154 (link to this page)

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