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Diabetes Support Groups for Young Adults

Even if you have the smoothest of transitions with T1D, the overwhelming changes of diabetes can wreak havoc on your day-to-day existence. Sometimes, it helps to know you’re not alone.

Diabetes Support Groups for Young Adults

Hearing the news you have a chronic illness catapults you through a barrage of emotions, plus there’s so much to learn in so little time – you may feel like you’re treading water, barely able to keep your head above the surface. The good news is there is an ever-growing list of resources at your fingertips if you know where to look.  

You’re Not Alone

Even if you have the smoothest of transitions, the overwhelming changes of diabetes can wreak havoc on your day-to-day existence. Sometimes, it helps to know you’re not alone. Recent data from the National Library of Medicine shows that more than half of all new cases of type 1 diabetes occur in adults. And type 1 diabetes is growing at an alarming rate. A  Centers for Disease Control study suggests an almost 30 percent increase in T1D cases in the United States. Moreover, a recent journal study by Lancet, Diabetes and Endocrinology, states that globally, the number of type 1 individuals is expected to grow from 8.4 million to 13.5-17.4 million by 2040.

What Now?

So, you’ve met with your healthcare team, established your management routine, and now you’re ready to return to your normal, banal life, right? Except nothing is ever routine with diabetes. It’s ever-changing and ever-challenging; ordering supplies, dealing with your insurance company, getting your pump set—adapting to your new lifestyle all the while working full-time can be demanding to say the least.

You may find your feelings and questions mounting like a tsunami wall ready to crash. Your list is too long to wait until your next doctor’s appointment, and while the internet is a great resource, sometimes that human connection is more powerful and helpful than anything you might have hoped for.

Question Everything

Your endocrinologist and healthcare team are the best resources for sure, but sometimes you need more. Also, you may not have the perfect fit right away. I remember switching doctors soon after my son’s diagnosis. We didn’t click with the doctor assigned to us at the hospital, and after a few visits, I knew it wasn’t working out. Research and ask around your community – you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings by swapping.

There is a wealth of knowledge out there. Who better to hear from than someone walking in your shoes? Besides, the facts and technology are constantly changing. You’re struggling to link your Dexcom to the pump. You’re checking your glucose and giving the recommended insulin dose, but you’re still high, or you keep crashing after your workouts?

See what strategies work for others. Learning tips and tricks like a small snack before bedtime can be lifesaving. Figuring out your patterns and understanding how your body adjusts is incredibly valuable. There is not one fit or solution for everyone – instead, thousands. All this learning takes time and vigilance. Be patient with yourself. Your primary goal is to discover what’s right for you, and support groups can help.

Support Groups

Support groups are great to bounce ideas off, commiserate with and help manage the many challenges of adult-onset diabetes. However, the sheer number of groups can be tremendous! First, you need to decide which kind of support group is best for you.

Therapy Groups: This type of group helps with mental and emotional support. Some T1Ds may experience depression, anxiety or eating disorders. Therapy sessions are ideal to help us explore the root of our issues, while learning coping mechanisms and technics from others with the same problem.

Education Groups: Here, you’ll find experienced professionals seeking to share nutrition knowledge, meal-planning tips and other management skills.

Peer Support Groups: Talking with others in the same boat can be therapeutic. Networking offers information on management, doctors, treatment plans, and much more. Several groups meet in-person and online.

Where to Look?

You can find groups by asking your healthcare provider or joining one of the many online organizations that may have a local chapter to join:

Most organizations offer support group listings by state. They meet in various locations, from hospitals, clinics or medical centers. Of course, if you don’t jive with one of the above groups, you can always start your own!

Social Media

Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok host online forums daily. Just enter type 1 diabetes in the search field, and a plethora of sites pop up, like Diabuddies, Type 1 Diabetes Support Group, Diabetes Support Group, and Diabetes Support. These sites have thousands of members from all over the globe. You can find one you like the most or join them all! 

The advantage of joining a group has multiple tips to help you gain empowerment over the disease. The growing list of benefits includes:

  • Meeting new friends
  • Sharing daily challenges
  • Keeping up with new trends and research
  • Learning how to prevent and manage complications
  • How to get involved with advocacy programs and opportunities
  • Receive counseling
  • Trade insurance information tips

Then, once you’re a pro, you can pay it forward by helping others new to the disease.

Other Ways to Connect

There are other ways to connect and find support in your community. You can join a group like the ADA or JDRF and participate in fundraising activities. Volunteering to raise awareness helps you connect with those around you. Equally important, attending one of the several conferences in your community is a great way to meet young adults. Taking Control of Your Diabetes® is an organization that offers sessions to educate and assist T1Ds.

Like any chronic illness, diabetes can take its toll. Daily management pushes us and can be discouraging, no matter what kind of Pollyanna front we have. A support group can remind you you’re not alone in your journey. People are ready and willing to help if you only ask. Reaching out doesn’t mean you’re not self-reliant—it means you’re wise. Learning all you can from various sources is the best way to go.

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