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What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a complex condition that impacts the entire body. Someone with diabetes has unhealthy levels of glucose in the blood, and can be associated with reduced life expectancy, and a negative impact on quality of life.
With 1.75 million Australians already believed to be have diabetes, and predictions that this will double in 20 years in what medical authorities describe as a “21st century pandemic”, the medical aspects are becoming ever more widely known. Less well-known are the psychological consequences.
It can be tiring and worrying for those who live with diabetes and their families. Living with a chronic condition requires constant attention. The consequences of this can include depression and anxiety.
The demands of regular blood glucose testing and medication, attention to healthy eating and regular physical activity can impose considerable strain, and many who have diabetes can feel weighed down under this yoke.
It is by no means rare for those who have diabetes to experience anger, anxiety and sadness. If neglected, these feelings can end up affecting their quality of life and impact on their management of the disease.
Maintaining motivation can also be difficult.
Depression and other related emotional issues
One in four people will experience depression at some time in their adult life. For people who live with diabetes this figure is even higher. Research shows that having diabetes more than doubles the risk of developing depression. Living with this sort of chronic disease and having to cope with biological and hormonal factors and the treatment regime on a daily basis may increase the risk of depression.
Other related emotional issues include:
- Adjustment to the diagnosis and life transition
- Concerns about not being able to stick with your diabetes care plan
- Dealing with complications of diabetes
- Work and family stress
- Marital and relationship issues
- Family adjustment
- Child’s school difficulties or behaviour problems
When to seek professional assistance
A diagnosis of diabetes is a life-changing event. It is a time when families can often struggle to adapt to the "new type of normal" they must face. Psychological counselling during this time can be of great benefit to all those involved. Many individuals with diabetes find it difficult to make the lifestyle changes needed to stay healthy, such as changing their diet. Psychologists can help patients with behaviour change, to gradually improve healthy eating habits, activity levels and overall outlook.
Psychology Melbourne can provide you with specialist psychological services in the field of diabetes.