The research, by Dr Peter de Jonge, University of Groningen, Netherlands, and colleagues has been published in Diabetologia (the journal of The European Association for the Study of Diabetes).
While previous studies have explored the associations between diabetes and depression, most have been conducted in Europe and the U.S. But diabetes and depression vary in prevalence worldwide, and more global studies are needed.
Secondly, and the authors say more importantly, depression often co-occurs with several other mental health disorders — not only with anxiety disorders, but also with alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and the like.
The new study uses the World Mental Health Surveys to examine the associations between a wide range of DSM-IV mental disorders and diabetes diagnosis.
This approach enabled them to investigate the association between first onset of mood, anxiety, impulse control (including eating disorders) and substance use disorders with diabetes diagnosis in a large international sample, with data coming from 19 countries.
More than 50,000 participants were included in the analysis. The authors identified 2,580 cases of adult-onset diabetes (diagnosed in those aged 21 years and over).
Although all 16 DSM-IV disorders were associated with diabetes diagnosis, the same was not true after adjustment for the presence of other mental health conditions.
After this adjustment, only depression, intermittent explosive disorder, binge eating disorder, and bulimia nervosa independently increased the risk of diabetes diagnosis.
While the association between depression and diabetes is within the range reported in other meta-analyses, the authors say the association between impulse control disorders (including eating disorders) and diabetes has not been reported before.
“While the estimates of prevalence for these mental health disorders vary at a population level, effective interventions to prevent these conditions might ultimately,” suggest the authors, “prevent substantial numbers of diabetes diagnoses.”
The authors conclude: “Our findings thus suggest that the focus on depression in the context of diabetes prediction is warranted, but this focus may be extended to impulse control disorders.”