A new study from a leading mental health provider reports that over half of the people living with diabetes in the UK have been treated for mental health problems, revealing the darker side to the condition.
Every day in the UK, around 700 people get diagnosed with diabetes, which is the equivalent of one person every two minutes.
The independent study of people living with Type 1 and 2 diabetes by Censuswide found that 75% of young adults (16-34) believe that their mental health has been negatively affected by their condition.
Mental health’s effect on diabetes management
Mental health issues linked to diabetes include:
- Feelings of loss;
- Panic attacks;
- Mood disorders;
- Anxiety; and
- Eating disorders.
A depressed person is less likely to adhere to their medication or monitoring regimens which are necessary for effective management of the condition, resulting in poor glycaemic control.
Having phobic symptoms or anxieties related to self-injection of insulin and self-monitoring of blood glucose is common, resulting in further emotional distress. Stress and depression are known to elevate blood glucose levels, even if medication is taken regularly.
Treating mental as well as physical symptoms
According to the study, 46% of participants say that more awareness of mental health issues specific to the disease would help prevent high levels of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as other mental health problems associated with the condition.
Meanwhile, 43% think discussions of mental health within diabetes-specific appointments would help and that clearer advice from medical bodies would help.
Sarah Bateup, chief clinical officer at Ieso Digital Health, commissioners of the study, said: “Mental health should be considered an integral part of ongoing diabetes care. We need to ensure a multifaceted approach including comprehensive assessment for mental health problems, educating patients to recognise stress and mental health problems and encouraging self-care.
“Providing effective mental health interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help patients to address the emotional and behavioural aspects of living with a life-long condition such as diabetes.”