Bibliotherapy: Your Prescription for Good Control, Good Health, and a Good Life

| Jun 1, 1993

What does the future hold for health care in America? Nobody knows for sure, even those on Hillary Rodham Clinton's committee-maybe especially those on her committee! But one thing is certain. Whatever the new system turns out to be, its going to involve more personal responsibility for self-care and preventive maintenance. We're going to have to learn to analyze and handle many of our own health problems. And one of the most effective ways to do this is through bibliotherapy.

Bibliotherapy means gaining the knowledge to take care of ourselves through books and acting on that knowledge. No kind of therapy fits diabetes more perfectly, since diabetes is the original self-care disease; how many times have you been told "you have to be your own doctor?"

There are many advantages to bibliotherapy. It's relatively inexpensive (in fact, it's free if you call fill your bibliotherapy prescription at the library). It's always there for you to take any time of the day or night. The containers are easy to open-no child-proof caps to wrestle with. It has no harmful side effects. And the best part is that bibliotherapy prescriptions potentiate each other. That means each book you read makes all the other books you read even more effective.

To give you an idea of how bibliotherapy works, here are a some common diabetes problems and the bibliotherapy prescriptions to help you solve them. Some of the prescriptions were formulated in our own diabetic bibliotherapy laboratory-without the use of mice, we must confess.


"For business I have to travel a lot and eat out in restaurants and on airplanes. I have a terrible time following my diabetic diet. Usually I just give up and eat anything that sounds good. As a result my blood sugars go high a lot of the time."

Bibliotherapy Prescription:

The Restaurant Companion by Hope S. Warshaw, RD

The first book to focus entirely on making appropriate choices in restaurants. Covers eight different ethnic cuisines, including Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Thai as well as American and Fast Food restaurants and airline meals. Describes ingredients in typical dishes and gives ADA exchanges.


"Frankly I hate diabetes. I don't want to have anything to do with it. I don't even want to think about it. All I'm willing to do is take one shot a day and forget that I even have the stupid disease. I probably won't live very long, anyway, so I'm just going do anything I want and let diabetes take care of itself."

Bibliotherapy Prescription:

Psyching Out Diabetes by Richard

R. Rubin, PhD, June Biermann and Barbara Toohey (1992) 286 p. $22.95

At last a book to help you come to terms with the denial, anger, fear, depression, frustration and embarrassment that block diabetes control and a good and long life. If you're used to seeing diabetes as an enemy that complicates your already-too-complex life, this book will show you how to improve your perspective. Practical advice with no psychological mumbo jumbo from psychologist Rubin of Johns Hopkins Medical School.

Diabetes; A Guide to Living Well by Ernest Lowe & Gary Arsham, MD, PhD (Rev. 2nd ed. 1992) 396 p. $12.95

Written by two authors who've had type I diabetes for more than 35 years, this book gives individualized guidance for self-care: intensive, moderate or loose. A big, thick, all-inclusive authoritative tome of concrete advice and support.


"I've had diabetes for about 12 years and, to tell the truth, I haven't taken the world's best care of myself. But now I find I have the beginnings of some complications. My doctor says I can probably reverse them or at least stop them from getting worse if I get my blood sugar into really good control."

Bibliotherapy Prescription:

The Diabetes Self-Care Method by

Charles Peterson, MD and Lois Jovanovic-Peterson, MD (1990) 154 p. $11.95

By two of the foremost endocrinologists of the US, this state-of-the-art manual focuses on normalizing blood sugar through self-testing and insulin adjustment. Dr. Jovanovic is a diabetic and that, to us, adds an important dimension to this manual. Easy to understand.

Living with Diabetic Complications by Judy Curtis (1993) 294 p. $15.95

A supportive, informative, and supremely positive book for coping physically and emotionally with either beginning or advanced complications. Thorough and competent on medical treatment options and sources of specialized help. The author, a type I diabetic for 42 years, has experienced vision impairment, kidney disease, heart disease, neuropathy, and an amputation, all of which she handles triumphantly, and she'll teach you to do the same with whatever complications, minor or major, that you may have.

If your local public library or friendly neighborhood bookstore can't fill your bibliotherapy prescriptions, contact us for a complimentary copy of The Diabetic Reader. This is a combination newsletter and mail-order catalog of the best and brightest books on diabetes. Call 1-800-735-7726 or write to: June and Barbara Ink, 5623 Matilija Ave., Van Nuys, CA, 91401.

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Categories: Blood Sugar, Book Reviews, Diabetes, Food, Insulin

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