Dealing with stress to manage diabetes

When ‘Edith’, a 52-year-old patient with type 1 diabetes, first met with psychologist Dr Lisa Engel, her phobia of hypoglycaemia was out of control. Edith’s intense fear led her to avoid low blood sugar at all costs, and her HbA1c levels had soared to 12.2%.

Dr Engel, who is also a certified diabetes educator, practises Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a mindfulness-based intervention.

For patients with a fear of hypoglycaemia, or other mental health problems related to their illness, Dr Engel tailors the treatment to include diabetes-specific metaphors and strategies.