One in four Australians with type 2 diabetes avoid insulin because of psychological factors

Up to one in four Australians with type 2 diabetes are reluctant to commence using insulin, even if it is recommended by their healthcare team.

Research has found many people with type 2 diabetes delay the commencement of insulin because of psychological factors including feelings of failure or negative thoughts about the progression of the disease.

To help people overcome these barriers Diabetes Australia, in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD), has developed Starting Insulin, a new booklet to help people better understand how insulin can help them manage type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said it was important people had the information to make informed choices about their diabetes management.

“We have developed Starting Insulin to cut through the myths, misinformation and misconception and give people the facts and information they need to make informed decisions,” Professor Johnson said.

“There are around 275,000 people with type 2 diabetes currently using insulin, however many more may benefit, and we want to remove the barriers that are preventing them from commencing insulin therapy.”

Dr. Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott, Research Fellow at the ACBRD, says there are common psychological barriers dissuading people with type 2 diabetes from using insulin.

“Around 70% of people with type 2 diabetes believe taking insulin means their diabetes has become much worse, and around 50% say that commencing insulin means they’ve failed to manage their diabetes,” Dr. Holmes-Truscott said.

“These are powerful negative ideas that have a major impact on a person’s willingness to use an effective treatment that can benefit their long-term health.

“The reality is people with type 2 diabetes who use insulin to manage their diabetes aren’t good or bad, they are just managing their diabetes in a way their health team believes will be beneficial.

“The new booklet, Starting Insulin, covers a range of topics, including benefits and side effects of insulin, frequently asked questions and advice on where to find further information and support.”

Starting Insulin is free and can be accessed online at ndss.com.au/starting-insulin-booklet.

Dr. Holmes-Truscott’s research is available here: https://www.diabetesresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S0168-8227(16)00017-6/abstract?cc=y=