Risk for Type 2 Diabetes May Be Increased With Comorbid Depression, Anxiety

Glucose monitoring
Glucose monitoring
Investigators examined the association between risk for T2D and comorbid depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Those with depression and comorbid anxiety may comprise a subgroup of depression that is at significantly increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

This study included 78,025 patients between the ages of 30 and 75 years who did not have diabetes at baseline. Of this group, 1096 were diagnosed with diabetes. The 743 patients with symptoms of depression and comorbid anxiety were at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (n= 28) than those without either symptom (n= 74,467; odds ratio=2.12; 95% CI, 1.22- 3.68). Of the 650 patients with only depressive symptoms, 23 developed type 2 diabetes, though 24 of the 2165 individuals with only anxiety symptoms developed type 2 diabetes—neither result was significant. The comorbid group was 2.86 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than the group with only depressive symptoms (95% CI, 1.25-6.54).

Individuals in this study were drawn from the Lifelines Cohort Study. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were assessed via interviews, and either hemoglobin A1c levels or self-reporting were used to assess type 2 diabetes in the 3.8-year follow-up period. The study researchers used mixed effects logistic regression to analyze risk for type 2 diabetes, classifying patients into 4 groups for comparison: no symptoms of depression or anxiety, only symptoms of depression, only symptoms of anxiety, or symptoms of depression and comorbid anxiety. Adjustments were made for lifestyle, sociodemographic, and cardiometabolic features.

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Limitations for this study include a screening tool used for assessing symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as data on glycated hemoglobin that was limited to a small number of patients.

The study researchers conclude that “individuals with depression and comorbid anxiety might be a subgroup of depression with a particularly heightened risk of developing [type 2 diabetes]. With further empirical support, this group could be considered in preventive interventions.”


Deschênes SS, Burns RJ, Schmitz N. Comorbid depressive and anxiety symptoms and the risk of type 2 diabetes: findings from the Lifelines Cohort StudyJ Affect Disord. 2018; 238:24-31.