What is it
Diabetes is a complex condition which involves the body being unable to maintain healthy levels of glucose (sugar) which is the main source of energy for the body. This is due to insufficient production of insulin, which is the hormone that is required in order to convert glucose into energy. When glucose is not converted into energy, this results in high blood glucose levels. Diabetes is a common condition, impacting approximately 1.7 million people in Australia. Diabetes consists of 3 types: Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes has shown to be increasing for all types of diabetes in Australia.
What it includes
Diabetes includes symptoms such as increased thirst, increased urination, lethargy, unsatisfied hunger, blurred vision, unexplained weight loss (type 1) and gradual weight gain (type 2). Complications associated with diabetes can include blindness, kidney disease, neuropathy and in some cases, limb amputation. Treatment for diabetes involves self-management ie. injecting insulin on a regular basis, exercise, diet control, and medication. In addition to physical health issues, diabetes is strongly associated with psychological issues including depression, anxiety and general emotional distress. The diagnosis of diabetes and subsequent implications ie. change in daily routine, increased need for support from others, and uncertainty around blood glucose levels can be difficult for anyone to adjust to. Diabetes has also been linked to disordered eating due to the increased need to monitor food intake and increased importance in losing weight.
How a Clinical Psychologist Can Help
A psychologist can provide information to you on the link between diabetes and emotional health, assist you to adjust to your diagnosis and the implications of this on your daily life and relationships, address any maladaptive thinking that may occur ie. “I have no control over my health”, manage any associated emotions such as sadness and fear, and monitor and adapt any negative behaviours such as binge eating. Your psychologist can also help you to set goals towards increased exercise and healthy eating, and collaboratively support you in achieving these goals. Your psychologist may use various evidence-based therapies to assist you with your treatment goals including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
NDSS (2015). National Diabetes Service Scheme. Diabetes and emotional health, https://www.ndss.com.au/diabetes-and-emotional-health
Diabetes Australia (2015). What is diabetes, https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/what-is-diabetes
Diabetes Australia (2015). Diabetes in Australia, https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/diabetes-in-australia
Doyle, Elizabeth A., et al. “Disordered Eating Behaviors in Emerging Adults With Type 1 Diabetes: A Common
Problem for Both Men and Women.” Journal of Pediatric Health Care (2016).
Goldney, Robert D., et al. “Diabetes, depression, and quality of life a population study.” Diabetes care 27.5 (2004): 1066-1070
If you require additional information, please call our office on 07 3256 6320. Our mental health focused reception staff will be only too happy to assist you with your enquiry about our service and can suggest the most suitable Psychologist for your concern.