Coming to terms with a lifelong condition like diabetes is difficult. It involves a process of adjustment and coping on an emotional level causing the diagnosis of diabetes to be associated with psychological problems. Patients suffering from diabetes seek support from their immediate family members and peer to deal with the discomfort the change brings them in the healthiest way possible.
The psychological state of the patient with diabetes plays a crucial role in self-management behaviors like dietary control, adherence to medications etc. Depression, eating disorders and anxiety are the three most common psychological condition associated with diabetes.
There is a high correlation between diabetes and depression. It can come in different forms. Depression can lead to poor lifestyle such as physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol consumption thus increasing the complications of diabetes. Signs of depression include loss of interest in normal activities, feeling of hopelessness and unexplained physical problems. In such cases it is essential to seek help from a mental health professional right away. Studies have indicated better diabetes management and improvement in depression in participants in psychotherapy.
Research has shown that particularly adolescent girls with diabetes are at high risk for eating disorders. These are associated with worse blood sugar control. At least 10% of adolescent girls with diabetes meet the diagnostic criteria for eating disorder.
Anxiety is caused in people who worry about how they are going to talk about their medical condition to others and whether or not others will understand what they have to go through. Younger children with diabetes are more likely to have learning problems.
Seeking proper psychological treatment is the key to overcome all the issues. Research indicate that family based behavioral procedures such as goal setting, positive reinforcement and supportive parental communications have improved regimen adherence and blood sugar control.
The most important thing to be remembered that even for those who are diagnosed with diabetes can still live quality lives if they make changes in the way they live. By practicing dietary control and maintaining and being active, they would see remarkable differences in their health and wouldn’t lighten the weight of their burden.