Diabetes patients' emotional distress not monitored routinely

Professor Jane Speight (PhD), director of the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes, said detection of major distress by healthcare professionals appeared to be problematic unless it was systematic and structured.

In an opinion piece published online by the MJA to mark World Diabetes Day today, Professor Speight said time and money was spent implementing screening programs for complications such as retinopathy but not for emotional distress.

Severe depressive symptoms affect around one in 10 Australian adults with type 1 diabetes and almost one in five with type 2 diabetes, while diabetes-related distress affects one in four with type 1 diabetes and one in five with type 2 diabetes.

Professor Speight said screening for distress was relatively easy, likely to have wider benefits and may be cost-effective, but high-quality cost-utility studies have not been conducted.

World Diabetes Day offered a timely opportunity to