Diabetes and Mental Health

Diabetes and Mental Health

It’s no secret that having diabetes makes you more likely to experience problems with mental health. The complex nature of diabetes management can lead to feelings of anger, frustration and depression. It’s not uncommon, in fact it’s probably more widespread than you think.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017, helps to spark conversations about mental health and make people feel more confident in discussing their symptoms.

Unfortunately, people with diabetes can often feel reluctant to speak to a healthcare professional about mental health problems. This might be because they believe the negative emotions will go away or that it is nothing to worry about. But failure to address mental health issues can often worsen symptoms and affect your long-term health.

This is why global diabetes community Diabetes.co.uk decided to survey people with diabetes in a bid to assess the mental health issues faced by the diabetes community. 1,428 people were questioned about their mental fitness, history of mental illness and diabetes management; 54% of whom had type 2 diabetes, 41% had type 1 diabetes.

Mental health survey

One of the first questions they asked participants was if they had been diagnosed with any other health conditions. Remarkably, the two conditions most selected were depression (35.5%) and anxiety (27.7%). They then asked participants about issues they had with their diabetes, a total of 25.6% who felt overwhelmed by their diabetes regarded this as a ‘moderate problem’, while 25.2% said they felt guilty when they went off track with their management. No correlation could be gleaned between diabetes issues and those who had anxiety or depression, but as standalone statistics they are worryingly indicative of the effects diabetes can have on mental health.

Another significant concern for participants was the future, specifically the risk of complications. Nearly 23% regarded the risk of diabetes-related complications as a ‘serious problem’, and this fear can be particularly hard for people with diabetes to overcome.

Beating depression and mental health issues

As the survey shows, many people with diabetes are going through mental health difficulties, so you’re not alone. There is support available and it is certainly possible to beat problems such as anxiety and depression.

If you are experiencing any of these mental health issues, it is important to communicate with your healthcare professional. Your HCP will be able to advise you on managing both your mental health and your diabetes.

You could also share your story in the Emotional and Mental Health section of the Diabetes Forum.

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