Living with diabetes is not easy. Managing diabetes is hard work that can lower quality of life. We already know that depression is higher in people with diabetes than in the general public. Now, research shows that diabetes is also linked to increased risk of self-harm, thinking about suicide, and committing suicide. Over recent years, there has been a 24% increase in suicide rates for the general population. People with diabetes are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. African-American patients with type 1 diabetes are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than those without diabetes. The rates of self-harm and suicide among people using insulin are probably more common that we think. Each year, large numbers of patients with diabetes turn up in the Emergency Room with very low blood sugar levels (causing confusion, seizures, unconsciousness or even death). Most of the time, doctors assume these are accidental, but they may actually be intentional overdoses of insulin. It is essential to screen for self-harm and suicide to identify patients with diabetes who are at risk, in order to quickly refer these patients to help.
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