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Type 2 Diabetes and Mental Health: The Link

The Link Between Mental Health and Diabetes


Type 2 Diabetes More Prevalent in People with Mental Health Disorder

New research shows that type 2 diabetes is more prevalent among people with mental health disorders.

Type 2 diabetes is a very common disease, but that doesn't make it any less serious. About 6-9% of the world's population is affected, and that number is expected to increase. Interestingly, people suffering from a mental health problem are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

But then, it isn't so surprising because mental health disorders often increase the risk of physical health challenges in individuals.

Type 2 diabetes linked with sleeping disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, and more

The new research isn't the very first of its kind because there are already several studies linking type 2 diabetes with depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

The difference here is that those studies did not examine the prevalence of type 2 diabetes with mental health in general; each was focused on a certain type of psychiatric disorder.

The new research critically examined multiple scientific papers and found 32 systematic reviews based on 245 different studies. Altogether, 11 types of disorders were reviewed.

In the end, the scientists discovered that the rate of type 2 diabetes is highest in people with sleep disorders, with 40% of the subjects having the disease.

Other mental disorders have rates as follows:

We can see that even the lowest rate is as high as the 6-9% found in the general population. That shows how critical life can be for patients battling one psychiatric challenge or the other.

Why people with sleep disorders have the highest risk of type 2 diabetes

Notably, sleep disorder is one of many conditions that often coexist with several other diseases. It's like headaches that usually occur as a symptom of many other diseases. So, studying people with sleep disorders is more or less like studying people with other conditions simultaneously, which may lead to the higher number observed.

Furthermore, most of the scientific papers the researchers reviewed were on participants that have some other disease. This compelled the researchers to believe that the comorbidity (coexistence) contributes to the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in people with sleep problems.

However, it's also worth noting that the link between type 2 diabetes and sleep disorder may be two-directional. While sleep disorder raises the risk of developing diabetes, diabetes can also prevent quality sleep in the patient. Hand in hand, both conditions take each other to greater heights.

Key takeaway

Mentally ill patients have enough trouble as it is. Combining that with type 2 diabetes becomes dreadful.

If you currently battle one mental health challenge or the other, know that you're not alone. There's help waiting. Managing your condition can help you minimize further complications in the future, thereby reducing your risks of developing something as awful as type 2 diabetes.

Get help today by speaking with an Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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