Children with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders compared to their healthy siblings, a Swedish study suggests.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden analysed over 17,000 diabetic children born in Sweden between 1973 and 2009.
They were compared with more than 1,000,000 healthy children, as well as the healthy siblings of the diabetic kids. All children were followed until their 18th birthday.
Increased risk
A wide range of psychiatric disorders and increased risk of attempting suicide was linked to children with type 1 diabetes – but this effect was not observed in the patients’ siblings.
Roughly eight per cent of type 1 diabetic children were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, were twice as likely to receive a psychiatric diagnosis by 18 compared to children without diabetes and were 1.7 times more likely to attempt suicide.
This risk was increased between 1973 and 1986, with researchers observing that flexible lifestyles and enhanced health care have lessened the burden of diabetes management over the years.
Only a slight increased risk of psychiatric disorders was found among the siblings, with no increases noted in a specific category. Researchers believe this indicates type 1 diabetes may cause physiological problems due to coping with the disease.
The results of this study were published in Diabetes Care.

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