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Diabetes May Add Stress, Depression

In addition to the stresses of maintaining a job, keeping up with daily home and family responsibilities, and somehow finding time to relax, people with diabetes have a whole new set of concerns to deal with.

A study published in The Diabetes Educator (Nov./Dec. 1994) looked at the content of counseling sessions to identify some of the added stressors that affect people with type 2 diabetes, and found that isolation from family, co-dependency, a sense of loss, overuse of defense mechanisms, low self-esteem, irritability and depression were common.

Dorothea Handron, co-author of the study, noted that sense of isolation from other family members and co-dependency on a “significant other” were common themes.

The irritability and depression noted in the study is consistent with other research findings, and may be metabolically induced by blood glucose levels.

The research concluded that in order to cope with diabetes, both patients and their families must be considered when developing a diabetes management program.

“Permission for the patient and family members to express feelings of anger and frustration, or to be allowed to feel overwhelmed by the prognosis of diabetes, should be routine elements of diabetes education,” said Handron. “Ultimately, people with diabetes are responsible for communicating their needs for support and assistance.”

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