Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have discovered that people with diabetes are at higher risk of depression than the general population (Diabetes Care, August ’93 issue). Their findings indicate that people with diabetes are almost three times as likely to develop mild clinical depression (more than 14%) than people without diabetes (around 4%). Unlike other chronic diseases (including arthritis, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and hypertension), diabetes appears to be a risk factor for depression only, not for other psychological disorders. According to the study, women with diabetes are more likely to suffer from clinical depression than their male counterparts, as are people of low economic status.
Although the reasons for this apparent link are unproven, the researchers hypothesize that it has to do with functional deficiencies of norepinephrine and serotonin, which are believed to be associated with depression. Animal studies have associated these neurotransmitters with diabetes. Fortunately, the study indicates that depression doesn’t have any significant effect on the development of complications or their severity.