By John Zrebiec, MSW
There are over 34 million people living with diabetes in the United States and another 88 million people living with prediabetes. As a result, it’s very likely that you’ll encounter people with diabetes in your social work practice — although mental health concerns is what initially brought them to your doorstep.
In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for clinicians to focus on the presenting psychiatric and behavioral issues that drove the client to seek therapy and to leave the diabetes concerns to the medical team. One would never have considered a cancer diagnosis as an element not to be integrated into the psychotherapy discussion, but it often happened with diabetes because it was less visible. Today, that artificial divide between the emotional and physical aspects of illness is seen as a short-sighted view that overlooks the fact that diabetes deeply influences how someone thinks of themselves and the relationships they have with other people.
Successful management of diabetes requires medical treatment, but it also requires basic psychological care. This does not mean that you need to become an expert in the genetics, physiology, medications, treatment options and nutritional requirements, but it’s immensely helpful to learn about the basics of diabetes diagnosis, treatment and complications in order to have an empathic conversation about diabetes and its impact on emotional well-being with clients.
Here are ten reasons that social workers will benefit from attending ADCES22:
- Expand what you already know about mental health care to people with diabetes.
- Understand the basics of diabetes.
- Learn about the normal behavioral, emotional, social and cognitive challenges of living with diabetes.
- Increase your skill in using the appropriate language and having sensitive conversations about how diabetes is affecting quality of life.
- Recognize that people with diabetes suffer from depression, anxiety and eating disorders at higher rates than those without diabetes.
- Discover the difference between diabetes distress and clinical depression.
- Acquire tools that you can use to support these diagnostic and treatment endeavors.
- Learn about clinically informed, evidenced based strategies to improve diabetes self-management behaviors.
- Build on your social work skills to help family members manage their worries about diabetes.
- Increase your skill and confidence in assessing and treating mental health issues faced by people with diabetes.
Register today for ADCSE22 in Baltimore. I hope to see you there.
ADCES Perspectives on Diabetes Care
The Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists Perspectives on Diabetes Care covers diabetes, prediabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions. Not all views expressed reflect the official position of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.
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HEALTHCARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your diabetes care and education specialist or healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. To find a diabetes care and education specialist near you, visit DiabetesEducator.org/Find.