September 23, 2012
Psychology and Health Issues Program Review
Over the years, “the importance of the mental health expert in the management of medically ill individuals has grown with the proliferation of information linking health and behavior”. (Harris & Lustman, 1998) Receiving a diagnosis such as Diabetes Mellitus has been linked to psychological disorders that affect the way an individual copes with this disorder. We will identify treatments, controlled and uncontrolled factors, and the approach used by mental health professional to help these patients replace unhealthful behaviors in the midst of emotional distress. With years of study and research, an accumulation of evidenced has been gathered revealing the association between social, psychological, and behavioral factors that influence the diabetic population. Psychologists have discovered that stress, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders are amongst the most prevalent psychological disorders experienced amongst individuals suffering from this complication. Acknowledging this factor reveals that the care for patients with this disorder require an interdisciplinary team approach consisting of physicians, dietitians, and psychologists who are able to educate and provide these individuals with the tools needed to make the proper adjustments required to maintain a healthful life. According to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), many diabetics experience similar stages as that of bereavement. (Diabetes.co.uk, 2012) Because a chronic diagnosis such as diabetes signifies the loss of health, many individuals suffering from this condition are subjected to periods of denial, a sense of hopelessness, anger, and frustration following diagnosis. There is a fear of long term complications and commitment. Many have a difficult time coping with the lifestyle changes associated with this disorder. They struggle to understand the relationship that food has on their health and find it difficult to stay compliant with dietary restrictions. The overwhelming fear of needles causes anxiety and an unrelenting need to avoid fingers sticks and insulin administration. The constant monitoring of glucose levels and diet restrictions are eventually viewed as confining; overtime leading to a diabetic burnout. During this phase these individuals exercise self-destructive behaviors. They engage in the consumption of food items despite the acknowledgement of the negative effects on their blood glucose levels. Seeking freedom from frustration, they administer insulin based on estimates; compensating for over consumption of restricted foods. (Diabetes.co.uk, 2012) In this state of disillusion, most diabetics submit to their condition convinced that all hope is lost; hence the physical relationship between diabetes as it is psychologically display through depression, anger, fear, and anxiety. The first step to gaining control is by seeking education about the risk factors associated with diabetes. Despite the fact that some risk factors associated with this disorder goes beyond our control, there remains a few things that we can incorporate into our daily practice that help to minimize complications. Refraining from a sedentary lifestyle is prudent. Researchers have discovered that maintaining and inactive lifestyle contributes to the decline of our health and eventually leads to fatality. In today’s society many have moved away from physical work to seek employment that requires more intellect. The introduction of technology has minimized the amount of time and manpower required to physically complete tasks. It is essential that we incorporate simple practices like parking a block away from our destination or taking the stairs instead of the elevator to keep active. Maintaining a good exercise regimen is applaudable. Watching what we eat is another factor within our...