PEOPLE with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from depression, according to figures released by Scotland’s leading charity which supports those with the condition.
Diabetes Scotland said too few people had access to the professional psychological support they needed.
People with diabetes tell us that coping with their condition can be stressful and overwhelmingLinda McGlynn, Diabetes Scotland
More than 276,000 people in Scotland live with diabetes, more than suffer from cancer or coronary heart disease.
If current trends continue, more than half a million Scots will have the condition by 2035.
As well as increased rates of depression, those with diabetes are also more likely to suffer from anxiety and eating disorders.
If is not treated properly it can leave sufferers vulnerable to serious complications such as blindness, strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure and amputation.
The charity argues that offering improved emotional support would save the NHS money in the long term.
“When you’re diagnosed with diabetes there is a huge focus on ensuring that you’re physically well and are receiving the health checks which will monitor your blood glucose levels, blood pressure and other physical indicators,” said Linda McGlynn, patient engagement manager at Diabetes Scotland.
“However, getting to grips with your diagnosis can take its emotional toll and it’s important that people receive the right support to ensure they have good mental health and can cope with the pressures and challenges of living with a long-term, life-changing condition.
“People with diabetes tell us that coping with their condition every hour of every day can be stressful and overwhelming. It can feel very isolating as so few people understand what it’s all about. But we know that getting the right emotional support can make a huge difference in improving people’s mental health as well as helping improve their physical health outcomes.”
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK.
“GPs should consider the emotional needs of people with diabetes as part of their overall personal care planning,” added McGlynn.
“They should ask people how they are feeling so they can pave the way to professional psychological support when they need it. But for this to happen it is important that appropriate psychological support services are commissioned and available to everyone who needs them, no matter where in Scotland they live.”
Diabetes Scotland is encouraging more people to use its Careline Scotland service, which provides support and information to people with diabetes as well as family, carers and friends.
“Whether they’re looking for practical information or emotional support, we can help point them in the right direction,” McGlynn said.
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