Increased Risk for Psychiatric Disorders in Adolescents, Emerging Adults With Diabetes

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Sad young female with hyperglycemia
Adolescence and emerging adulthood represent a complicated stage for patients with T1D. Access to mental health services during this transition is critical.

Young patients with type 1 diabetes who are transitioning to adulthood are at greater risk for psychiatric disorders compared with their peers without diabetes, according to study results published in Diabetes Care.

As there were previously no studies that explored the risk for psychiatric disorders during adolescence and emerging adulthood in patients with type 1 diabetes, researchers explored the risk for new-onset psychiatric disorders and suicide attempts in patients with diabetes aged 15 to 25 years.

The retrospective cohort study was based on the Quebec Integrated Chronic Disease Surveillance System database. The researchers identified all individuals born between April 1982 and December 1998. They collected data through the end of March 2015, and assessed the development of mood and psychiatric disorders, suicide attempts, and death by suicide, as well as visits to psychiatrists, from age 15 to 25 years among 3544 patients with diabetes and more than 1.3 million without diabetes.

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Patients with diabetes were 33% more likely to have a mood disorder that was diagnosed in the emergency department or hospital (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.33; 95% CI, 1.19-1.50), be at higher risk for hospitalization because of a suicide attempt (aHR, 3.24; 1.79-5.88), and were more likely to visit a psychiatrist (aHR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.67-1.98) or have any psychiatric disorder (aHR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.21-1.37). The risk for mood disorders diagnosed in the outpatient setting and risk for schizophrenia did not vary according to diabetes status.

“Our observations highlight the importance of identifying psychiatric disorders and increasing access to mental health services during this vulnerable transition period,” wrote the researchers.

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Robinson ME, Simard M, Larocque I, Shah J, Nakhla M, Rahme E. Risk of psychiatric disorders and suicide attempts in emerging adults with diabetes [published online December 16, 2019]. Diabetes Care. doi:10.2337/dc19-1487