Rates of Type 2 Diabetes Higher in People With Common Psychiatric Disorders

Prevalence of type 2 diabetes has been found higher in people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression compared to the general population.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is prominent in people with a psychiatric disorder compared with the general population, according to a study published in Diabetologia.

Previous research has shown that the prevalence of T2D is higher in people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression compared to the general population, according to the authors of the current study. However, no systematic overview of this research is currently available to examine the possible links between prevalence of T2D and psychiatric disorders in general.

The study authors set out to conduct an in-depth search of 4 electronic databases of scientific papers and found 32 systematic reviews based on 245 unique primary studies. The 11 categories of disorders they found are schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, substance use disorder, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, intellectual disability, psychosis, sleep disorder, dementia, and a “mixed” group that included different types of psychiatric disorders.

The study shows that people with a sleep disorder had the highest rates of T2D, with 40% of subjects having the disease, whereas its occurrence among individuals with other psychiatric disorders was 21% for binge eating disorder, 16% for substance use disorder, 14% for anxiety disorders, 11% for bipolar disorder, and 11% for psychosis. The prevalence of T2D was lowest among people with an intellectual disability, with 8% of this population having the disease.

The researchers noted that sleep disorders continue a subgroup of psychiatric disorders and have high comorbidity with several other diseases.

“It is likely that this physical comorbidity contributes to the high T2D prevalence estimates in people with a sleep disorder,” the study authors wrote. “The link between T2D and sleep disorders is likely to be bidirectional with the sleep disorder raising the risk of developing diabetes, while diabetes, especially in combination with poor metabolic control, increasing the risk of developing sleep problems.”

They added that people with any of the investigated psychiatric disorders are more likely to have T2D than the general population.

“More refined comparisons should be made between prevalence estimates in the future to better account for differences in populations groups, study settings and the broad range of years as well as methods used to ascertain T2D,” the study authors wrote.

The authors concluded that increased prevalence of T2D among individuals with a psychiatric disorder suggests that these conditions have a shared vulnerability to the development of diabetes relative to the population at large.

“Better understanding of the observed differences in disease risk and the reasons behind them are still needed,” they added. “Reliable information about prevalence and a better understanding of biological and behavioral factors driving increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes in people with a psychiatric disorder will be crucial to developing cost-effective strategies for the management of patients in this situation.”


Rates of type 2 diabetes are higher in people with one of various common psychiatric disorders. Diabetologia. November 29, 2021. Accessed November 30, 2021. https://diabetologia-journal.org/2021/11/30/rates-of-type-2-diabetes-are-higher-in-people-with-one-of-various-common-psychiatric-disorders/

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