Diabetes sufferers have a “bereavement-style” response to finding out they have the condition, a study suggests.
Researchers said that following diagnosis, type 2 diabetes sufferers go on a journey of denial, anger, depression, acceptance and finally a sense of hope and positivity for the future.
Experts from the University of Nottingham called for healthcare professionals to treat patients as individuals after they identified the various stages of coping following diagnosis.
They said it can take up to 18 years for a diabetes sufferer to feel “in control” of the condition if they are not properly supported by healthcare workers.
Some people can take as little as one month to get to grips with the illness, showing a huge variation in the amount of time it takes sufferers to adjust to living with type 2 diabetes.
The majority of people feel as though they can successfully manage the condition between two and three years after diagnosis, according to the research which was commissioned by retailer Boots.
But one in four people still needed help to reach the final stage.
A third of those questioned felt support was unhelpful or inadequate while half thought there was room for improvement.
Researchers studied 163 people living with the condition and discovered that if sufferers suspected they may have the illness prior to diagnosis, they found it easier to adjust.
The authors suggest that if healthcare professionals know what emotional stage sufferers are at, they can provide more effective support.