A recent review has looked into the problems around patient use of diabetes medication to attempt suicide and how people at risk of trying can be identified and given support to prevent this.
Depression is, unfortunately, around three times more likely in people with diabetes.
Prior to this review, there was little research into the link between diabetes and suicide, and specifically how medication has been used in suicide attempts.
The review, published in Current Diabetes Reviews, is written by two leading physicians two discuss their follow-up to a study in 2013, which found 9.7 per cent of newly diagnosed diabetes patients tried to commit suicide.
Drs Madhuker Trivedi and Alyson Myers reported that half of those patients tested positive for depression during the study.
They added that, in the US, medication including insulin, sulphonylureas and metformin have all been used in overdoses, with insulin the highest risk medication. Insulin pump therapy was found to be a method for some suicide attempts.
In some occasions, death by insulin might be misclassified as an accident rather than a suicide attempt, they found. The researchers believe new methods of distinguishing the two events are required in order to manage patients most at risk of depression and suicide.
Trivedi and Myers also discussed how a multi-disciplinary approach is warranted for patient care, including behavioural health, insisting that a one-size-fits-all management of diabetes is no longer applicable.
Consequently, they recommend that all patients with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes need to be screened for both depression and risk of suicide. This would mean that patients could be given support to help them through depression before attempts at suicide are made or considered.
If you are going through depression or have any thoughts of suicide, please speak to your doctor who can offer support.
If you are feeling down, the Diabetes Forum is full of friendly people who know what it’s like to live through the ups and downs of diabetes.