Young people with diabetes at higher risk of suicide, study finds

Young people with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing mental health problems or attempting suicide than their peers, according to research.

A Canadian study involving more than one million people aged between 15 and 25 has found that those with diabetes are 325 per cent as likely to suffer an attempted suicide as people without it.

The researchers said there were 3,544 individuals included in the analysis, who were compared to 1.4m that did not have the condition.

Having diabetes was also associated with a 133 per cent higher chance of being diagnosed with a mood disorder.

Speaking to Reuters Health lead author Dr Marie-Eve Robinson, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Canada, said: “In addition to challenges inherent to adolescence, young adults with diabetes who transition to adult care need to adapt to a new adult-care provider and a treatment facility.”

Dr Robinson said one of the main problems is because managing type 1 diabetes can be particularly overwhelming for a young person due to the responsibility of injecting insulin every single day of their lives. Diabetes burnout is a very real condition that can affect people with diabetes of any type. People can find themselves unable to continue with the pressure of managing a condition day in, day out, and this can lead to elevated blood glucose levels that increase the risk of complications and ketoacidosis.

Dr Robinson added: “This can be overwhelming, especially when their previous caregivers were providing significant support during childhood and adolescence.”

The findings also showed a correlation between diabetes and a psychiatric disorder.

The researchers concluded: “Between the ages of 15 and 25 years, the risks of psychiatric disorders and suicide attempts were substantially higher in adolescents and emerging adults with versus without diabetes.”

The study has been published in the Diabetes Care journal.

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