People with diabetes at heightened risk of depression, evidence shows

By Editor
18th April 2024
Diabetes UK, Mental wellbeing Research

Depression is almost twice as common in people with diabetes than in the general population, research presented at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2024 has revealed.

The findings – which were presented by Professor Richard Holt from the University of Southampton in the Arnold Bloom Lecture – suggest that people with diabetes are at risk of developing depression because of the psychological burden of the condition.

Data has shown that 22 per cent of people living with type 1 diabetes have depression compared to 12 per cent of those with no diabetes.

Meanwhile, 19 per cent of people living with type 2 diabetes have depression, the research has identified.

According to Professor Holt, people on insulin treatment are at risk of depression because of the negative beliefs and stigma around insulin.

In addition, those who develop diabetes-related complications are also more at risk of experiencing depression, the research has reported.

Professor Holt said: “Is it any wonder that those with comorbid diabetes depression have higher mortality rates than those with some types of cancer.”

During his presentation, Professor Holt also revealed that people with diabetes and a severe mental illness (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) are at an increased risk of mortality from diabetes-related complications.

Additionally, individuals with diabetes and a severe mental illness are less likely to attend diabetes appointments or to be referred for specialist diabetes care, according to the research.

Figures show that people with a severe mental illness are almost twice at risk of developing diabetes compared to those without schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

“It is important to become familiar with mental health because people’s attitudes, beliefs and mental wellbeing affects how well they manage their condition,” said Professor Holt.

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