Diabetes has become a real epidemic in the first world, along with obesity. The causes are the promotion of a sedentary lifestyle, easy access to cheap food and the difficulty in being able to develop a healthy and active lifestyle.
It is for this reason, and as millions of new cases of diabetes mellitus are diagnosed each year, many people are concerned about the development of this disease, coming to feel an irrational fear of being diabetic and all that. involved.
In this article we will discuss diabetesophobia, diabetes phobia, In addition to explaining what it is, what are its symptoms and causes, the degree of interference in the lives of those who suffer from it and the treatments used.
What is diabetesophobia?
Diabetophobia is the irrational fear of diabetes. People who suffer from this specific phobia may suffer a high level of anxiety at the mere thought of diabetes, Be these kind of extremely intrusive situations in your daily life.
Diabetes is a common medical condition in which the body does not make enough insulin, A hormone necessary to convert sugar into energy and thus maintain their organic functions. The causes of this disease can be genetic and environmental, obesity and sedentary lifestyle being risk factors.
Usually, people with diabetes do not have diabetes. However, just showing symptoms that may be related to diabetes can trigger a whole host of avoidant behaviors, anxious thoughts, and general discomfort.
Having diabetic parents can be a factor that triggers this type of phobiaBecause the risk of diabetes is real due to family history. As the genetic factor is present, diabetophobes can exercise and control their diet in an extreme way.
The main symptom of diabetesophobia is anxiety. It can get so serious that it can go as far as manifesting panic attacks. In addition, people with diabetes they may over-control their diet and exercise too much.
Another symptom, common with phobias and anxiety disorders in general, is avoidance. People with diabetes generally avoid people who know they have been diagnosed with diabetes, although the disease is not contagious. They do this avoidance primarily to avoid having to constantly think that they are in front of someone who has what scares them.
Diabetophobia is associated with strong anxiety at the mere thought of diabetes, constant fear of developing this disease, Inability to cope with anxiety, muscle stiffness, sweating and tremors.
Affecting daily life
People with diabetes phobia may engage in certain behaviors that are a real intrusion into their daily lives, preventing them from developing as free people by being tied to habits that prevent them from leading fulfilling and socially healthy lives. It is common for this type of phobia to acquire eating and exercise-related habits.
High sugar consumption over long periods of time is considered a risk factor develop diabetes with lack of exercise and have a high percentage of fat in the body. This is why people with diabetes phobia can become obsessed with eating, avoiding all foods high in carbohydrates. In addition, you can join the gym and spend hours there or devote a lot of time to sports activities such as running, swimming or gymnastics.
While controlling what you eat and having an active lifestyle are essential pillars of healthy living, the truth is that pushing them to extremes is seriously counterproductive. Avoid carbs at all costs and eat an exclusively ketogenic diet it can contribute to a lack of nutrients and, in the long run, develop health problems.
If we add to the lack of nutrients the practice of excessive exercise, it can be facilitated that there are injuries and difficulties to recover later from a very demanding sport activity.
In addition, one of the peculiarities that people with diabetes may experience is to avoid people with diabetes. This can interfere with social life, because if you knew someone with this condition, be it a friend, family member, or even a partner, reducing contact can result in relationship problems.
Possible causes of this disorder
It is not known at this time what caused this type of phobia. Apparently, certain genetic and environmental factors can play a determining role in the manifestation of diabetesophobia. For example, if someone in the family, such as the mother or father, has been very concerned about diabetes, the children may be overly concerned about the disease.
The person with diabetes may also have a kind of trauma in childhood related to the disease, Such as the loss of a diabetic family member.
Some people develop this phobia when, when they go to the doctor, he informs them that their eating habits have led them to a situation close to diabetes. Being so close to developing the disease helps to develop extreme habits to prevent diabetes, such as overeating.
Exposure therapy is often one of the most common treatments for treating phobic disorders. They are used to desensitize the person to what produces irrational fear. The problem with diabetesophobia is that it is not possible to expose a person to diabetes given the obvious ethical problem that this poses.
However, this does not mean that it is impossible to treat people diagnosed with this type of phobia by exposure. Also, from cognitive behavioral therapy, it can help the person to be more aware of his problems. Knowledge about diabetes can be worked on, Be close to a person with diabetes or contribute to having a healthy lifestyle that will ensure good prevention of diabetes.
Another option is, in the psychiatric field, the use of psychotropic drugs. For phobias, it is common to use anxiolytics and antidepressants. Anxiolytics help prevent panic attacks, which is why they can be very helpful in people with diabetes. As for antidepressants, although their names may indicate that they are only indicated for people with depression, the truth is that they have been useful in the intervention and treatment of people with anxiety disorders.
Caffeine is a substance that gets activated and can lead to an anxiety state. One of the recommendations given by professionals to patients with phobia, especially the phobia of diabetes, is to reduce drinks containing this substance, such as coffee or tea. This helps to avoid an overexcited physiological state.
Some somewhat alternative therapies used to improve the lives of people with diabetes are mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or participating in sports.
Midnfulness-based stress reduction therapies they have been shown to be effective in treating problems associated with anxiety disorders, such as stress itself. Meditation has also been found to be helpful in decreasing physiological activation, along with yoga.
As for sports activities, they have been found to be very useful for people with diabetes, especially cardiovascular exercise. Aerobic exercise helps release endorphins, which produce emotional well-being. However, one must be careful with sports, because one of the symptoms that the diabophobic person can manifest is to have an extremely active.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
- Alberti, G. (2001) An office guide to type 2 diabetes mellitus. European Diabetes Policy Group, 16, 716-730.