THE BLOG

Consider Isolation Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes: It's Not as Crazy as It Sounds

04/20/2012 12:33 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2012
  • Milt Bedingfield Author, Prescription for Type 2 Diabetes: Exercise. Exercise Physiologist and Certified Diabetes Educator

My brother never had Type 2 diabetes, but he did have several other problems that were arguably just as serious. My brother went to a bar mitzvah when he was 14 years old. He was served some wine at the post bar mitzvah celebration, and a day later told me he really liked it, and looked forward to the next time he could have some. Little did I know then that this would be the beginning of a long and troubled life for my brother Chris that would end when he was only 42 years old. You see, my dear brother became an alcoholic and eventually addicted to cocaine when he was in his early 20s. One late Friday night while attempting to cross a street, he was hit by a pick-up truck. He died approximately three weeks later, never having regained consciousness.

During the 20 years or so that Chris struggled with his addictions, there were so many times when I would lay in bed at night and try to come up something that I could do to change the direction his life was headed. Early on, I thought a good talking to would do it. I didn't understand the disease. As time went on, I came up with other ideas. None worked, however, the idea I thought was the most likely to be successful I never tried. I never tried it because it was too unrealistic, at least I thought it was.You see, I had finally come to realize that unless I could get Chris out of that environment, totally away from the people that supplied him with drugs and the alcohol he would buy, nothing would ever change.

I imagined what would happen if Chris and I were stranded on a deserted island. Then what would he do? No alcohol, no drugs. If we wanted to eat we would have to hunt it or pick it. My days would be spent seeing my brother withdraw from the chemicals he had been ingesting, gradually getting back to the brother I knew. Early on, Chris would most likely be trying to figure out a way to escape from the island so he could get back to his addictions. My theory was that the longer I could keep him away from the drugs (or clean), the less likely he would go back to them. I never had a chance to try out my theory.

As unpractical as it may seem, imagine for the next few minutes, (bear with me here) the benefits of "isolation therapy" (as I will call it for lack of a better description) to some people with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, weight management issues, and obesity. It is well known that the modern way of eating, characterized by convenience, excess and indulgence combined with the current trend to make life as physically easy as possible, leads to the vast majority of what ails us.

What do you think would happen if someone that is overweight with Type 2 diabetes that has a difficult time making wise food choices and getting exercise, is taken to a relatively secluded island for two months in the summer where they have to hunt, pick or pull from a tree their food. They have to clean it, prepare it and tidy up after themselves. If they want shelter from the elements they have to make it.

This is what I think. For those people that could stick it out for two months or so living this way, their lives would never be the same. My guess is that many of them would never return to a lot of the poor food habits and excesses that got them to where they were prior to the isolation therapy. I also hypothesize that by the end of the isolation period, there would be significant improvement in nearly all parameters of health and wellness, so much so, that many of their diabetes medications may need to be reduced or eliminated.

Think about it. Maybe the idea is not as crazy as it initially sounds. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

For more by Milt Bedingfield, click here.

For more on diabetes, click here.

For more on addiction and recovery, click here.

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