Bottom Line: Among 123,000 patients in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health system with newly diagnosed diabetes, 23% had mental health or substance use disorder diagnoses and that prior engagement with the health care system may be associated with a lower severity of complications for a few years after the onset of diabetes. More than 90% of patients with mental health or substance use disorders had primary care visits before diabetes was diagnosed compared with 58 percent of patients without those disorders. Patients with already diagnosed mental health and substance use disorders had lower overall, but more quickly progressing, complication severity scores through seven years after a diabetes diagnosis than those patients without, even after accounting for other mitigating factors such as coexisting illnesses. Study authors speculate patients with diagnosed mental health or substance use disorders likely were already being treated for other conditions, such as hypertension, when diabetes was diagnosed. Limitations of the study include missing data.
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Authors: Eric Schmidt, Ph.D., Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, and Stanford University, Stanford, California, and coauthors
Editor's Note: The article contains funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
# # #Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Eric M. Schmidt, Ph.D., email Kim Betton at Kim.Betton@va.gov">Kim.Betton@va.gov. The full study is linked to this news release.
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