Positive outlook, social support can help diabetic patients cope with 'psycho-social challenges'

A new study has revealed that positive outlook and social support can help diabetic patients to deal with emotional, psychological and social difficulties of the disease, which could ultimately improve their health outcomes.

ANI| Last Updated: Sep 10, 2014, 10:51 AM IST

Washington: A new study has revealed that positive outlook and social support can help diabetic patients to deal with emotional, psychological and social difficulties of the disease, which could ultimately improve their health outcomes.

The Second Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs (DAWN2) study would be the largest analysis yet undertaken of personal accounts of people living with diabetes. The original DAWN study in 2001 found that 41 percent of adults with diabetes have poor psychosocial well-being.

In the follow-up study, almost half, 46 percent, of people with diabetes had negative emotional, psychological and social experiences related to their illness. Two major negative themes emerged. People with diabetes reported feeling anxiety, fear, worry, depression and hopelessness about their condition, and they experienced discrimination at work and misunderstanding from the public.

Heather Stuckey, assistant professor of medicine, said that some diabetic patients made their lives a little richer because they ate healthier foods, or they were able to connect with their family more to overcome challenges and it gave them a better appreciation of what they have.

However, some people with diabetes are reluctant to share their challenges and needs because they do not want to be perceived as a burden to family members. This creates a vicious cycle because family members do not always know how to help, so the person with diabetes could feel more isolated and disconnected.

Stuckey further mentioned that patients should be encouraged to be able to share their thoughts and experiences about having diabetes with family members and other trusted individuals.

Family and friends could also educate themselves about the disease by visiting the websites of the American Diabetes Association and the International Diabetes Federation, and by attending doctor's office visits.