Diabetes study shows GPs need to treat the person, not the physical symptoms

It’s Diabetes Awareness Week, and a new study shows that diabetic people are experiencing high levels of mental health issues related to their condition

It’s Diabetes Awareness Week, and a new study shows that diabetic people are experiencing high levels of mental health issues related to their condition

An independent study by Censuswide and commissioned by Ieso Digital Health shows that over half of diabetics have also been treated for mental health problems.

Approximately 700 people are diagnosed with diabetes every day in the UK, and 75% of adults between the ages of 16 and 34 believe their mental health has been negatively affected by the condition.

46% of respondents to the study also said that higher awareness of diabetes-specific mental health issues would help prevent the stress, anxiety and depression associated with diabetes, and a further 43% say mental health education and assessment should be integrated into ongoing diabetes health care.

The study stresses the point that GPs treating diabetics should be treating the whole patient, not just the physical symptoms. Sarah Bateup, chief clinical officer at Ieso Digital Health, said:

“Mental health should be considered an integral part of on-going 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.”

“Mental health issues linked to diabetes include feelings of loss, stress, anger, panic attacks, mood disorders, depression, anxiety and eating disorders – all things which make it more difficult for a diabetic patient to regulate their food and medication intake.

“A depressed person is less likely to adhere to their diabetes medication or monitoring regimens which are necessary for effective management of diabetes, resulting in poor glycaemic control. Stress and depression are also known to elevate blood glucose levels, even if medication is taken regularly.”

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Nearly half of respondents think discussions of mental health within diabetes-specific appointments – and that clearer advice from medical bodies – would help combat this issue.

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