Half of people with diabetes receive treatment for mental health concerns

More than half of people with diabetes (51%) have received treatment for depression, anxiety or another mental health issue and are more likely to suffer from a mental health condition than the general population.

Three quarters of people aged 16-34 believed their diabetes had a negative effect on their mental health, according to a survey commissioned by Ieso Digital Health, putting them more at risk of developing a mental health condition than other age groups with diabetes.

A quarter of adults in the UK had a metal health condition, compared with half of adults with diabetes, its study of 500 people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes found.

Four in 10 diabetic people believed mental health education and assessment should be integrated into their ongoing healthcare, and 46% said more awareness of the mental health issues associated with managing their diabetes would help prevent high levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

Sarah Bateup, chief clinical officer at Ieso Digital Health, said: “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 can help patients to address the emotional and behavioural aspects of living with a life-long condition such as diabetes.

According to the NHS, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled since 1998 to almost 3.7 million. An estimated one million additional people are living with undiagnosed diabetes.

Ieso Digital Health said a depressed person is more likely to neglect their diabetes medication and less likely to monitor their condition properly, resulting in poor glycaemic control.

It cited research by Katon WJ et al, published in the Diabetes Care journal, which found that stress and depression elevated blood glucose levels, even if medication was taken regularly.

A recent study published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal found men with diabetes, heart disease or who had previously suffered a stroke were 68% more likely to be at risk of premature death if they had a stressful job.

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