Center of Research on Psychological and Somatic disorders

Diabetes mellitus

In 2011, more than 800.000 persons were living with (diagnosed) diabetes mellitus in the Netherlands source: RIVM). According to estimations of the International Diabetes Federation, worldwide, 382.000.000 persons had diabetes in 2013 (

Basically, there are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is usually discovered at a younger age (before the age of 25). Diabetes type 2 is usually diagnosed at an older age (over 50 years). Nine in ten patients with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes have to inject themselves a few times a day with insulin or carry an insulin pump to regulate the blood glucose. Patients with diabetes Type 2 usually take tablets and have to adapt their life style with regard to their diet and daily exercise. After some time these patients will also have to inject themselves with insulin.

Cause and result

Within CoRPS, scientific research is carried out into the associations between medical and psychological aspects of diabetes. For example, it was found that depression and feelings of anxiety are relatively common in people with diabetes. Two out of ten diabetes patients suffer from depression and one out of two suffers from severe depression.

At the same time it has been found that the blood glucose values of diabetes patients who are suffering from a depression are often less optimal. This might be a result of less adequate self-care behaviors, depressed diabetes patients often do not take care of themselves in an optimal way (less exercise, less healthy way of eating, not taking their medication). As a result, these persons are running a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and have higher mortality rates. Recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses showed that depression and probably also some forms of emotional distress are also risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes.

Treatment methods and quality of life

Researchers of CoRPS have tested new interventions that can help to treat depression and anxiety in patients with diabetes. In collaboration with the VUmc and the Amsterdam Medical Center, a randomized controlled trail was conducted, testing EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid from fish) as an add on treatment for depression in diabetes patients. Other interventions that were investigated were online treatment of depression (, a new physical exercise program, stepped care for co-morbid depression in people with diabetes and mindfulness-based CBT.