Understanding the encounter of diabetes and schizophrenia.




Morrell, James

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People with schizophrenia are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and other metabolic abnormalities such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle choices of physical inactivity and diets high in fat and refined carbohydrates are significant contributory factors for obesity and diabetes in people living with schizophrenia, but there is a growing body of research and interest into the additive factor of psychotropic medications on weight gain and diabetes risk. The incidence of diabetes and the morbidity and mortality rates are reported to be approximately 2 to 3 times higher in the population with schizophrenia compared to the general population. This increased vulnerability for health complications is reflected in the profound challenges that are experienced in the population with schizophrenia. My aim for this qualitative research inquiry has been to place into questioning the encounter with diabetes mellitus for people living with schizophrenia. I entered into dialogue with seven participants to explore new possibilities of understanding that emerged between the understandings that we each bring to the conversations. It was also my intent to bring into flux the assumptions of living with two interrelated chronic iv conditions and to increase the understanding of that experience through a reflexive process that illuminates that which may be hidden or obscured. I approached this inquiry mainly drawing on Gadamerian hermeneutics; the main task being the study of ‘texts’ that give evidence to what being human means and the analysis of how different interpretations and understandings are variable depending on their cultural and historical contexts. I expect this work to contribute to the generation of a richer understanding of these co-existing conditions and to create an opportunity and desire for ethical action in diabetes prevention and management for this high-risk population.



metabolic abnormalities, lifestyles, obesity, contributory factors