Diabetes and Mental Health

According to statistics published by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, people diagnosed with diabetes are two to three times more likely to suffer from episodes of depression compared to non-diabetics.

There could be a number of explanations for this higher rate of suffering. According to the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, someone who is diagnosed with a life changing illness is within the top ten most stressful events that can happen in someone’s life time, with the chances of developing mental illness increasing in line with the severity of the condition. Diabetes is categorised as a lifelong chronic physical illness, subsequently there are high chances of developing depression or anxiety.

Recent research suggests that psychological distress can have a negative impact on diabetes management. Anxiety, depression and stress are correlated with higher blood sugar levels and high blood pressure, both of which are dangerous for diabetics and have been shown to increase chances of diabetic related complications. Mental illness can also cause diabetic burnout, the term given when a diabetic relinquishes their self management often due to seeking a false sense of freedom from the control of the condition.

Mental issues such as chronic stress, anxiety and depression are natural emotional disparities that arise as a result of being diagnosed with diabetes and in response to the pressures of self-management. Treatments such as Mindfulness have been shown to address psychological issues while enhancing quality of life and the control over the chronic physical illnesses.

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