Psychosocial aspects of diabetes management: dilemma of diabetes distress
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a debilitating chronic illness with complex pathophysiological, psychological, and quality of life (QoL) implications creating a constant state of turbulence. Some of these interconnections are apparent to healthcare providers and are easily addressed in a routine diabetic clinical care. However, a large number of these hidden factors that interplay with each other and impact on the physical outcomes of DM goes unnoticed by health care providers. This is a frustrating and lonely predicament for DM patients making it very difficult for them to manage their illness well. At times these patients are mislabeled as “difficult patients.” in other cases they are considered to have and unnecessarily treated for psychiatric illness like depression, other mood or anxiety spectrum disorders which they may not need. In recent years clinical researcher are making strides in understanding the emotional distress a DM patient may feel and the factors contributing or perpetuating diabetes distress. This article focuses on understanding the diabetes distress and how it impacts our patients, how to screen, assess, treat and eventually prevent it from happening. The paper also attempt to bring out the major differences between diabetes distress and common psychiatric comorbidities of DM including but not limiting to major depressive disorder and other depression spectrum disorders.