A new study published in the journal Diabetologia has found that one’s mental state of mind affects his or her ability to heal from an illness. People with diabetes who develop foot ulcers, for example, can stall proper healing of their condition because they become upset and depressed. The study evaluated diabetes patients on all levels of the depression spectrum and found that those with the worst depression were the least likely to heal quickly from their foot ulcers.
Throughout the 24-week monitoring period of the study, patients who took a “confrontational” approach — meaning they desired to take control of the treatment and healing of their ulcers — were less likely than others to have a healed ulcer by the end of the treatment period. “Individuals with confrontational coping may experience distress and frustration because their attempts to take control do not result in rapid improvements,” explained Professor Kavita Vedhara, a professor at the University of Nottingham’s Institute of Work, Health and Organizations. Roughly 15 percent of diabetes patients develop foot ulcers, and many of them experience a much lower quality of life than other patients because they end up falling into depression.
Additionally, the depression-induced slower rate of healing increases health care costs for these patients who would otherwise heal more quickly if they had a healthier outlook on life and their condition. Professor Vedhara is working on a follow-up study to help treat diabetes patients with depression in order to facilitate them being able to heal faster.
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