Researchers have found that the effects on psychology of people with diabetes lead to a doubling risk of hospitalisation for self-harm compared with the general population.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition which can be hard to accept and manage for significant numbers of people diagnosed with diabetes. In addition, the threat of developing long term complications, such as eye diseases, kidney problems and nerve damage can add substantially to other anxiety.
Diabetes has previously been linked with a three-fold increase in risk of depression and so it is perhaps not so much of a surprise that rates of self-harm would also be higher.
To put things in perspective, the numbers of people with diabetes that self-harm is around 1 in 100. The research also showed that people diagnosed with epilepsy, asthma and eczema showed a doubling in risk of self-harm. By contrast, the risk of self-harm for people with psychiatric disorders was shown to be between 1 in 20 and 1 in 10.
Rates of suicide were also increased amongst people with diabetes, and other physical conditions such as asthma, but at much lower rates than the risk of self-harm.
The research has some limitations in that the study was limited to patients that had been hospitalised. Therefore, the higher rates of self-harm could be more closely connected with patients that are having more difficulty in controlling their diabetes.
The study helps to outline the importance that people with diabetes are regularly checked for signs of depression and given psychological support as and when needed.

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