Study: Diabetes a Depressing Diagnosis

But, in spite of all the physical and psychological stress that controlling one's blood sugar might cause, there are few outlets in the health care community for patients struggling with diabetes and depression to turn to.

"In my clinical practice, I see many [diabetes] patients with symptoms of depression, and I think part of the problem is that we don't have mental health professionals that are specifically trained to deal with depression in a setting of diabetes," Golden said. "We need more individuals trained in that area that can work in concert with diabetes experts and other professionals in the diabetes education arena, so that we can address the mental health issues that so many of these patients face."

Weiss said he has experienced this lack of resources firsthand.

"All the while I was going through cancer treatments, everyone involved in the process would always ask me, 'how do you feel?' and would ask my family how they felt, and whether they needed help or someone to talk to," he said. "In the diabetes world, that doesn't happen very often."

Unfortunately, many diabetes patients tend to agree with Weiss' assessment. Most diabetes patients spend an average of 10 minutes with their health care provider each visit, and find that support groups or other outlets for the emotional distress associated with their disease, are few and far between.

But, according to Kenneth Freedland, professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., there is some hope and good news out there for diabetes patients struggling with depression.

"Fortunately, patients who experience depression in conjunction with medical illness usually develop a mild to moderate variety of depression, and it's very often amenable to treatment," Freedland explained. "So, as bad as it can be, and as many problems as it can create, there is help out there."

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