Specific factors affect the ability of people with Type II, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), to manage their diabetes and self-care regimen, according to an article in the November/December 1994 issue of The Diabetes Educator. The study, which was designed to identify the individual stress factors affecting persons coping with Type II diabetes, revealed several common psychological and social factors: isolation from family; codependency; a sense of loss; overuse of defense mechanisms; low self-esteem, irritability and depression.
The article revealed that in order to cope with diabetes, both patients and their families must be considered when developing a diabetes management program. Patients' families should be considered because a common theme in the study was a sense of isolation from other family members and codependency on a significant other, according to Dorothea S. Handron, EdD, RN, CS, co-author of the study.
"Permission for the patient and family members to express feelings of anger and frustration, or to be allowed to feel overwhelmed by the prognosis of diabetes, should be routine elements of diabetes education," said Handron. "Ultimately, people with diabetes are responsible for communicating their needs for support and assistance."
Also, diabetes educators must assist patients in planning a realistic, individualized self-management regimen for a healthier lifestyle and work to identify existing areas of stress that may affect a plan's success.