According to a large study developed by a team of researchers from Karolinska Institutet, the T1 diabetes has a link with the incidence of mental suffering both in patients and their closest family members than in people without diabetes. According to the new research, psychological counseling is needed for both children and their families in diabetes care.
The results of the study have been published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care.
T1 diabetes and mental suffering: here’s what the new research has revealed
The study revealed that children and adolescents with T1 diabetes are at greater risk of experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety And stress-related disorders and that these comorbidities can hinder optimal care.
The current guidelines of the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) recommend screening for mental health problems in children with T1 diabetes, but do not adequately address the needs of immediate family members such as parents, siblings and cousins, who are also at increased risk of developing mental health problems. Furthermore, the reasons behind the association between familial mental health problems and T1 diabetes are not fully understood.
“Many clinicians intuitively assume that diabetes in a child negatively affects the mental health of both the patient and family members,” he said. Agnieszka Butwickaassistant professor at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, and senior author of the study: “But we think the answer is not that simple. Our study indicates that there may also be a genetic component behind this association, ”added Butwicka.
The research has carefully examined about 3.5 million people born in Sweden between 1973 and 2007 and their biological parents, brothers and sisters and cousins. More than 20,000 people have been diagnosed with childhood-onset diabetes t1 and these individuals have been found to have an almost doubled risk of developing depression and an approximately 1.6 times higher risk of experiencing anxiety and disorders. related to stress than those without diabetes.
Their parents siblings and cousins are also prone to somewhat elevated risks of having anxiety and stress-related disorders, albeit to a lesser extent, while their stepbrothers and cousins do not have this type of bond or are only slightly higher for some. conditions: “These results are of high clinical relevance because they mean that the therapeutic intervention should also involve close family members, not just patients,” explained Agnieszka Butwicka.
Because parent-offspring, siblings, and cousins share more genetic material (around 50%) than half-siblings (around 25%) and cousins (less than 12.5%), the research team said the finding supports the idea that genes may be a contributing factor to mental health problems in T1 diabetes. However, as this is only an observational study, scholars cannot say conclusively what causes the associations: “More studies are needed to fully understand the underlying genetic and environmental contributions driving psychiatric disorders in type 1 diabetes,” he said. concluded Shengxin Liu, Ph.D. researcher at Karolinska Institutet and corresponding author of the study.
Marie-Eve Robinsonpediatric endocrinologist of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, University of Ottawain Canadasaid: “One of the main problems is that the management of T1 diabetes can be particularly overwhelming for a young person, due to the responsibility to inject insulin every single day of life, monitor blood glucose levels and pay attention to diet and exercise” .
“Diabetes burnout is a condition that can affect anyone with any type of diabetes. People may be unable to bear the pressure of managing the condition day after day, and this can lead to a rise in blood glucose levels and a consequent increased risk of complications and ketoacidosis, ”continued the expert.
“This research is important because it shows that the transition to adult care is likely associated with a greater risk to mental health,” explained Dr Marie-Eve Robinson: “As children with diabetes will inevitably be treated as adults, it is vital that health care professionals assess the mental health status of adolescents or young adults during this transition period, in order to provide adequate support. This could potentially reduce suicide attempts and psychiatric disorders ”.
Dr. Robinson along with her team of collaborators developed one retrospective cohort study to measure the development of mood disorders, psychiatric problems, suicide attempts, deaths and psychiatric visits between the ages of 15 and 25 in 3,544 adolescents with T1 diabetes and nearly 1.4 million non-diabetic adolescents.
“As young people with diabetes transition from pediatric to adult care, they are at greater risk of attempting suicide and developing psychiatric problems than healthy peers. Healthcare professionals should learn about suicidal thoughts and mental health changes in young people with diabetes. Our findings demonstrate the need to increase mental health resources in order to support these patients, ”Robinson said.
“In addition to the challenges of adolescence, young adults with diabetes who transition into adult care must adapt to a different type of doctor and a new therapeutic framework. Young adults tend to perceive pediatricians as more family-focused and less formal than doctors who care for adults and this can sometimes make the transition difficult, ”concluded the expert.
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