NEW YORK, Uruguay, June 12 (UPI) -- The incidence of diabetes is growing at an alarming rate among mentally ill patients in the United States, The New York Times reports.
Dr. John Newcomer, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who treats people with severe ailments of the mind and spirit, told the newspaper patients are coming down with Type 2 diabetes, which is mostly associated with obesity.
"Uncontrolled diabetes can ruin a person's life as much as uncontrolled schizophrenia," Newcomer told the Times.
The report said among the mentally ill, one in five develop diabetes or double the rate of the general population. It said many more of the patients die today from diabetes and complications like heart disease than suicide.
Because mental health specialists are often the only doctors mentally ill diabetics ever sees, these doctors are now realizing they will also need to start addressing their patients' physical ailments, such as noting that some of the drugs they prescribe may aggravate or precipitate diabetes.