Newly diagnosed diabetes sufferers can feel bereaved, research suggests

by Sarita Sheth on August 2, 2012

Diagnosis can unleash a wide range of emotions, research shows

When people find out they have type 2 diabetes they can go through a bereavement style response, experiencing denial, anger and depression, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Nottingham University in the UK said that after this they then experience a sense of hope and become more positive about the future.

They believe that healthcare professionals should realise what people go through and then treat them accordingly as understanding their emotions can provide more effective support.

Having studied 163 people with type 2 diabetes they concluded it can take up to 18 years for diabetes sufferers to adjust to living with the condition.

Although the majority of people can successfully manage their diabetes in between two and three years after diagnosis, some one in four still need help to reach the final stage and some even adjust in just a few weeks.

The research, commissioned by retailer Boots, also found that a third of those studied felt support was unhelpful or inadequate and half thought there was room for improvement.

Also if sufferers suspected that they may have diabetes before being diagnosed they found it easier to adjust to the situation.

‘There can be an assumption that people diagnosed with the same condition can have similar adjustment pathways,’ said Dr Neil Coulson, associate professor of health psychology and author of the study.

‘However, speaking first hand to people with type 2 diabetes reveals there is a need to treat people as individuals, especially those who are getting stuck and need help to move forwards positively in managing their condition,’ he explained.

‘Understanding how people react to initial diagnosis, and then to the challenges they face as they go on their individual journey, in conjunction with an ability to recognise what psychological stage a person is undergoing at any given time, could help us provide more effective support,’ he added.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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