Perspectives

Challenges in type 1 diabetes. Integrating emotional support into diabetes care

Perspectives

Challenges in type 1 diabetes. Integrating emotional support into diabetes care

Shikha M. Gray, Christel Hendrieckx

Figures

© monkeybusinessimages/ istockphoto.com models used for illustrative purposes only
© monkeybusinessimages/ istockphoto.com models used for illustrative purposes only

Abstract

People with type 1 diabetes often experience emotional distress and are more likely to have elevated depressive symptoms compared with those without diabetes. Healthcare professionals are ideally placed to provide support for people with diabetes, including when and how to assess and address common emotional problems. Acknowledging and normalising feelings of distress and continual assessment of people with diabetes are the cornerstones of emotional support.

Key Points

  • Type 1 diabetes is a demanding chronic condition associated with emotional challenges.
  • Many people with type 1 diabetes may require psychological care, although this may not be overtly expressed.
  • Health professionals have the capacity to identify emotional problems and provide support to people with type 1 diabetes as part of their regular consultation.
  • Common emotional problems include diabetes distress, fear of hypoglycaemia, depression, anxiety and disordered eating.
  • Identification involves being aware of common emotional problems, regularly asking people how they feel about living with and managing their diabetes, and conducting regular assessments (e.g. by using questionnaires such as the Problem Areas In Diabetes scale).
  • Support involves providing information about the emotional problem (advising), developing an achievable action plan (assisting), providing a referral to another health professional if needed (assigning) and following up on progress (arranging).