More screening for children and young people with diabetes could help to catch depression early on, according to research from the US.
Type 1 diabetes is a disease which damages the pancreas and stops people from being able to automatically keep the concentration of sugar in their blood at a healthy level.
Depression has higher rates in people with type 1 diabetes than it is in people without the disease. The constant need to manage diet, test blood sugar levels, and inject insulin to manage those levels.
Having to do this all day, every day, can, according to Dr. Janet Silverstein of the University of Florida, increase the risks of depression.
She told Reuters: “These issues become more obvious in youth who are adolescents, when peers are the most important people in your life. You don’t want to be different, and diabetes is a difficult disease, you have to check blood sugar, give insulin injections,” and this can make people feel different.
When people with diabetes get depression, it has been evidenced that their management of the condition is likely to worsen.
The research involved questioning 261 young people with type 1 diabetes, and 339 people with type 2 diabetes, all aged 10 to 17.
(Type 2 diabetes has been called mature onset diabetes, because of its tendency to develop in old age. However, it has recently been seen more and more commonly in much, much younger people.)
13 per cent of those with type 1 diabetes, and 22 per cent of those with type 2 diabetes, reported symptoms of depression. However, only 4 per cent with type 1, and 9 per cent with type 2, had actually been treated by a therapist within the year leading up to the study.
Neither age, sex, nor ethnicity was linked to the chances of depression in this participants.
Of those who had depressive symptoms only 15 per cent had been diagnosed as having depression in the previous year.
It shows that more should be done in terms of mental health care to help people with pre-existing conditions, whether it be diabetes or any other disease. However, care still hasn’t been perfected for people who are suffering mental health issues anyway, so the care sector still has to develop much more.