Running into trouble with diabetes and college life... aka partying

Hey everybody,

my name is Nick and I'm heading off to college this fall. I'm a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic (last april) and I was wondering if you guys could give me some tips about how to survive college with type 1 diabetes. What are the drinks I should avoid (if they exist) and things of that nature.

Thank you!


Hello Nick,

I was diagnosed after I turned 21 so I had experience with drinking and wasn't going to give it up. It is OK to drink with diabetes, as long as you are smart about it. My advice for you is to limit sugary drinks that have carbs. I don't think it is a good idea to take insulin and drink, so things like light beers, wine, and liquor with diet soda are great because you wouldn't have to take insulin to drink them. I also advise never to drink too much where you can't check your blood sugar and be able to eat if low. I'm sure you've heard that hypoglycemia has some of the same symptoms as being drunk, so your friends may not know to help you. And one last thing, just watch your blood sugars the next day because you might run low for the next 24 hours after drinking. (Which is also a good reason not to take insulin while drinking) Just be smart about it and you will be fine.


yo bro,

Im a senior in college and was diagnosed when i was a sophomore in high school, so that was right when i started partying and all. dude, just stay away from anything that may have sugar. dont know if youre into the "girly" drinks but those are the most dangerous for us. stick with beer (preferrably light) and hard liquor. no mixed drinks. Ive never had a low when ive been drinking. even light beers have carbs, so if youre drinkin, your sugar should rise a bit. I drink a lot so i always take a hit of insulin after ive been drinkin for awhile. youre gonna end up at taco bell and jack in the box too so its always good to keep your pens in your pocket. thats what i did and survived 5 years of college. hit me up if you need anymore advice man and good luck

Thank you guys, this is very helpful. I will keep your tips in mind haha no need to have any seizures

Also, if you go on a pump, you can suspend it or do a lower temporary basal rate while the alcohol is in your system, lowering your BS. This is generally safer and easier way to control BS while drinking.

Hey dude, I am in the same situation actually. I'm a senior in highschool and I was diagnosed in March of last year. Do you know where you are going yet? I got into Penn state, Fordham, Fairfield, loyola, uconn, northeastern, and NYU. Ive actually been looking some way to request a T1 roommate but haven't really found much.

-Evan H

Hey guys, you’re all right on! :slight_smile: I was diagnosed when I was 7 and couldn’t to party, regardless of concerns that parents may have had. I’ve been through a lot, and learned a lot. Keep an eye on how you’re feeling before you start. The anti insulin plan is also good for a night of drinking. Keep so

Cool…stupid iPhone, keep something on you if possible, or know where to get sugar if in dire need. :slight_smile: have fun, but be safe so you can continue to have fun! :slight_smile:

Greetings Nick

Collage is a great time, full of lot's of new things, new friends, and many learning experiences. With all this comes additional stress, and for some, anxiety. Sure, the party scene will be there. Peer preasure, late nights, and screwed up meal times. Back in the early 80's, I was attending the other CIA, "Culinary Institute of America" Sometimes refered to as "The Boot Camp for chefs". Crazy schedules, lot's of studying, and oh yes, the party life was wild. My only strong suggestion for you is, Don't let your diabetes stop you from doing what you want to, but be careful. Watch your sugurs, be prepared for lows, and don't keep your diabetes a secret. College friends will last a life time, and good friends are there for you when you need them.

Unfortunatly, I had 1 bad low while waiting in a meal line at 6am one day. I ended up in a hospitol with 2 compression fractures in my back, and this slowed me down for almost 18 months. I was over anxious with a new place, and surroundings, so I missed the symptoms of the low. All turned out great. I graduated, and have excelled in the foodservice industry since.

Stay in tune with how you feel, watch your sugurs, and be cautious with trying to be to close to a normal BS. There were no pumps back then, and blood meters were considered cutting edge, and new. I cannot imagine how things would have been for me back then, if I had been able to use an insulin pump. If you do consider a pump. Work hard at getting started early summer, so you can get used to having one, and not have another crticle new life changer at the same time you embark on your newest college chapter in life.

Drinking in moderation is the key. Beer and or wine, or mixed drinks with diet mixer would be best. Alcohol in general for a diabetic is not a good thing, but I never let that slow me down back then. Today I chooese tostay away from the drink.  

Have the time of your life Nick!

As someone who just finished their first year of college (also first time ever drinking/partying!), I definitely agree with moderation. I took it slow the first few times I drank, to see how it would affect me, trying different kinds of alcohol on different nights to see each one separately. It's different for everyone, so I definitely suggest that. Now I know very clearly how each affects me and my blood sugars.

For me, especially since drinking and dancing go together at the parties I go to, I want to make sure that there actually is a little sugar in what I'm drinking, because I know I will go low from dancing+alcohol later on if I don't. Esp since you might not realize how much you're dancing in such a state. Alcohol also generally drops blood sugars (unless it's beer, which of course has carbs).

Another MAJOR thing to know about drinking and diabetes: Glucagon doesn't work if you have alcohol in your system. How the glucagon works, if you don't already know, is that it tells your liver to produce glucose when it is injected. When you have alcohol in your system, your liver is too busy trying to get out the alcohol to listen to the glucagon. So if you are ever in a situation where you are drinking, make sure your friends know that if you (G-d forbid) pass out, not to let you "sleep it off." They need to call 911 immediately.

Of course, I hope you never let yourself get into that situation and I trust you know your own body, but those are some things to keep in mind. Also, HAVE FUN! FRESHMAN YEAR IS AMAZING. :)

If you decide to get high, the weed itself shouldn't affect your sugar, but the munchies that occur after might. Also, if you're going to drink, maybe tell whoever is going to stay sober so they know what to do if you pass out or something like that haha. What college are you going to?

I was diagnosed at 19 when the drinking age was 18 so I had some drinking experience already.  I quit for a while but eventually came back.  Actually it's something I have quite a bit of experience with although I have quit again due to problem it and D cause together.

You do need to be aware of whats going on BS wise while drinking of course.  Maybe test once an hour and eat or dose accordingly.  The real danger comes the next 48 hours after.  As Traci says the glucagon thing is a big deal.  After you quit drinking your liver metabolizes the alcohol.  the liver also kicks in glucagon if you BS gets too low as a survival mechanism.  It can't do both and thinks the alcohol part is more important.  So while  metabolizing alcohol, if your BS falls too low you won't bounce back.  Your survival mechanism will be disabled.  people die from this.

The other thing I found was that for the next couple of days your BS will have a tendency to go low and when it does go low, the lows are worse.  The kind where you don't know where you are or who you are.  

Before you go to bed, test.  Take less insulin.  Eat a lot of carbs to give you a cushion to be sure you don't go low while asleep.

So you can, but you have to be careful.  LIke so many things with D, drinking is way more complicated for us than for most folks.

If you want to get intoxicated, weed is a much more D friendly choice.  If the munchies strike, count carbs and dose accordingly.  And, IMHO, the high is way better.  Alcohol is kind of a nasty buzz IMHO.