Health anxiety for diabetics is as bad as for neurological patients



A quarter of Canadian diabetics, with either type one or two diabetes suffer from a tendency to worry about their health and thus misinterpret bodily sensations as more serious and threatening than they actually are.

Neurological patients have the same degree of anxiety, judged the highest for all patient groups.

Health anxiety was worse in younger patients, females, those recently diagnosed and those who were unmarried.

They had anxiety, a fear of diabetes complications, poorer adherence to dietary and self care activities and a lower physical quality of life.

The researches add, “The cognitive behavioural theory of health anxiety suggests than health anxiety increases when patients feel more vulnerable, perceive the medical condition to be more distressing, feel they are unable to cope with the medical condition, and believe that resources for coping with the medical condition are inadequate.”

From Human Givens Volume 21. No 1 2014

(Janzen Claude JA Hadjistavropoulos, HD and Friesen, L (2014) Exploration of health anxiety among individuals with diabetes: prevalence and implications, Journal of Health Psychology, 19,2 312-22)

3 thoughts on “Health anxiety for diabetics is as bad as for neurological patients”

  1. This is understandable – Diabetes is a scary disease. But we need better education and support from families, friends and those around them. Social support, meditation etc. can help


  2. This really does not surprise me. After 42 years, I believe that emotional and mental health is our least understood and talked about complication.

    This item has been referred to the TUDiabetes Blog page for the week of November 28, 2016


  3. Too many doctors get things exactly the wrong way round.

    I spent the first fifty years of my life with doctors trying to find psychiatric explanations as to why I was “pretending to be ill for sympathy” while being so stupid that I failed to notice that I never got any.

    They were so intent on my “psychiatric” symptoms being the cause of everything else that they completely failed to notice all the symptoms I was “making up” just happened to be symptoms of diabetes and conditions that are “common in diabetics”. Which makes me highly intelligent since the age of 5 or 6, as I never made up symptoms of other conditions.

    It took buying this house from a pharmacist to find out what was actually occurring, she suggested she sell me a glucometer so by the time I saw my new GP I had a bunch of BG readings which prompted her to give me a GTT.

    I was only a whisker away from an actual diabetes diagnosis but it became obvious there was something drastically wrong with my glucose/insulin axis, namely a lack of Phase 1 insulin response with an overactive Phase 2 insulin (plus massive IR) causing Reactive Hypoglycemia, a condition doctors have been told NOT to diagnose.

    The huge drops in BG a few hours after eating were causing a dump of cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine etc. which caused my response to minor stress or no stress to resemble that to major levels of stress.

    Now I eat low carb/ketogenic and my BG an insulin levels have evened out this no longer occurs and most of my “psychiatric” symptoms along with my physical symptoms have improved or been completely eliminated. All my “health markers” have improved or normalised and have remained that way for over a decade now.

    Pity someone didn’t spot this earlier, I might have had a much better life.


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