psychosocial symptoms of diabetes mellitus

When a person finds out that he or she has diabetes their initial reaction is shock and panic. The knowledge influences their mind negatively and tarnishes their social image so they think. Once diagnosed with diabetes most patients tend to experience long-term social and psychological issues. To holistically treat a diabetic these factors need to be taken into consideration. Social and psychological factors influence the determination of the patient’s health-related behavior.

Foot ulceration among diabetics causes them to lose sense of self as it affects their day to day living. It is not only physical but psychosocial in nature as well. Foot ulceration is one of the most common complications in diabetics and also the prime reason for admission in hospitals. Diabetics, who have had amputations once suffered from foot ulceration. Diabetics suffer from depression more than others in the general population. This is connected with poor glycemic control and the onset of health complications. They have little or no interest in life as they are mentally crushed.

Depression leads to heart disease and multiple anxiety disorders. Eating disorders such as bulimia are common with young diabetic women and the adult diabetics in general. These disorders increase the risk of retinopathy. Quality of life takes a knock when somewhere behind their minds, diabetics, feel they are a burden and keep worrying about the future. In growing children the problem gets multiplied as they are already coping issues related to normal growth and development, and diabetes adds to their dilemma. They are not able to handle the two effectively; diabetes mellitus in children cause a lot of imbalances in the lives of the child and as well the family. In the case of children, diabetes adversely affects the neurocognitive and psychosocial functioning in a big way.

Once a child is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus he or she faces adaptation issues. Studies have shown mothers fall prey to depression soon after the diagnosis of their children but this generally goes off after the first year. Children get adjusted to their new routines within a year. However, there are some who do not and are at risk of continued psychosocial problems and poor metabolic control. Depression causes low glycemic control. Family is included as an integral part of treatment as in positive reinforcement, goal-setting, self-monitoring, behavioral contracts and supportive parental communications enhances glycemic control and regime adherence. This also helps in the parent-child bonding.

Coping skills and stress management programmes and trainings helps in social interaction and reduces diabetes-related stress in adolescents.

Knowledge of testing positive for any disease is always very traumatic and disheartening. It is like the sky has fallen on you and the world has come to an end. Your mind thinks a thousand things at one time and everything seems a blur. I urge you to get a hold of yourself and tell yourself that you are going to win. Instead of shying away from people, make more friends as the more you interact the less your mind will focus on your diagnosis.

The families of diabetics should include the individual in all activities and not make any differences as this is demotivating. Love, understanding and patience should be practiced toward the concerned individual as these are vital to the well being of the diabetic. With family support and patient cooperation, life remains meaningful and worth living. What a way to go!!

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