Diabetes is a metabolic disease caused due to a deficiency in the production of Insulin. While there is no cure for diabetes, it can be managed in the long term. However, disease management cannot be successful without looking at the lifestyle and emotional status of the affected individual.
There are several considerations that need to be taken into consideration in the management of diabetes. Firstly, individuals should be provided training in diabetes self-care and self management skills till they are able to competently look after themselves. While recommending a treatment plan, medical professionals must take into consideration the self-efficacy of the patient as well as their social support network. Strong social support in the form of family, peers etc may help reduce the burden of illness and improve quality of life for people with diabetes (Young-Hyman, 2016).
There are several psychological costs associated with diabetes, Diabetes can impact overall quality of life, well being, relationships and social life.
People with diabetes are also thrice as likely as the general population to report symptoms of depression, which in turn may lead to poorer management of diabetes, creating a vicious cycle.
People with diabetes also commonly have high rates of anxiety and report diabetes related distress. This can include things like feeling constantly worried about blood glucose level or potential complications, and having feelings of anger or guilt related to diabetes management.
Despite clear mental health implications of diabetes, only 15% of people with diabetes have access to mental health support (Lloyd, 2019).
Thus, improving access to mental health services is the foremost intervention needed for people with diabetes. Apart from this, constant monitoring, following a healthy diet and exercising regularly can all help with improved physical and mental health.
Further, interventions such as physical activity groups, motivational interviewing, and group or family therapy may all be helpful for individuals with diabetes.
Finally, another very important intervention is destigmatisation. People with diabetes need to be assured that it is normal to face mental health concerns and that reaching out is not a sign of weakness (Lloyd, 2019)
Healthcare providers should also to be trained to identify psychosocial issues and stressors present in the lives of individuals impacted by diabetes, and provide referrals to trained mental health professionals (Young-Hyman et. al, 2016)
Lloyd, C. (2019). The Psychological Impact of Diabetes. Retrieved from https://www.drwf.org.uk/news-and-events/news/psychological-impact-diabetes
Young-Hyman, D., De Groot, M., Hill-Briggs, F., Gonzalez, J. S., Hood, K., & Peyrot, M. (2016). Psychosocial care for people with diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes care, 39(12), 2126-2140.