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Depression is a common psychiatric problem in patients with type 2 diabetes (DM2). A common view is that the burden of having DM2 contributes to the development of depression in DM2. Aim of the present study was to compare the levels of diabetes-specific emotional problems of DM2 patients with diagnosed depression with those with a subclinical form of depression and those without depression.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 101 DM2 patients (51 men and 50 women, mean age = 63,17; SD = 10,74) who completed a standardized, structured psychiatric diagnostic interview (MINI), the Beck Depression Inventory, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale as well as the Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID) scale (a 20-item measure, with an overall scale measuring diabetes-related emotional distress and four subscales [negative emotions, treatment-related problems, food-related problems, lack of social support]).
A depression diagnosis was made in 35% (n = 35) of the participants, 24% (n = 24) had a subclinical form of depression, 42% (n = 42) were not diagnosed with any kind of depressive disorder. Diabetes-specific emotional problems were most common in DM2 patients with a depressive disorder (significantly highest PAID score: 39) compared to patients with subclinical depression or no depression. In the group of non-depressed patients, only 14% agreed to have four or more (somewhat) serious diabetes-specific problems. In those with subclinical depression, this percentage was 42% and in those with a depressive disorder 49% (P < 0.001).
Diabetes-related emotional problems are particularly common among DM2 patients with comorbid clinical depression and to a lesser extent in patients with subclinical depression, compared to non-depressed DM2 patients. Male diabetes patients with a depressive disorder are particularly vulnerable to develop high levels of diabetes-specific emotional distress. Major differences between the three groups mainly concern the diabetes-specific problems connected with the illness.
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