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Stress and the genesis of diabetes mellitus in schizophrenia

  • Timothy G. Dinan (a1)
Abstract
Background

The incidence of diabetes mellitus is higher in patients with schizophrenia than in the general population. Antipsychotic drugs have been implicated in the development of diabetes, but as non-medicated patients with schizophrenia have high rates of diabetes it is likely that factors other than medication are involved.

Aim

To examine the role of stress in the emergence of diabetes mellitus in patients with schizophrenia.

Method

Selective literature review.

Results

A model is developed suggesting that patients with schizophrenia show overactivation of both the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal and sympathoadrenal medullary axes, manifested by increased production of cortisol and adrenaline. Both of these hormones are known to be diabetogenic and are proposed as playing a part in the onset of diabetes mellitus in schizophrenia.

Conclusions

Stress has an important role in the onset of schizophrenia and may also play a part in relapse. Further research is needed to clarify the extent to which stress accounts for the genesis of diabetes in such patients.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
GF Unit, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. E-mail: t.dinan@ucc.ie
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

TG.D. has lectured at meetings and served on advisory boards organised by companies promoting antipsychotic medications, including Eli Lilly, Janssen-Cilag, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Footnotes
References
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  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
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Stress and the genesis of diabetes mellitus in schizophrenia

  • Timothy G. Dinan (a1)
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