Women With PTSD Twice as Likely to Develop Diabetes

Post-traumatic stress disorder’s devastating impact on physical and mental health has become increasingly well documented in the last decade. Adding to the mounting research is a new report that has found strong evidence of a causal relationship between PTSD in women and type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data from the Nurses Health Study II–a more than two decade long investigation that included nearly 50,000 women–to assess the connection between symptoms of PTSD and developing diabetes.

They found that as the severity of PTSD symptoms increased, so did a woman’s risk for developing the disease. Those women with the most severe PTSD were nearly two times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women with no exposure to trauma.

In a press release announcing the findings, first author Andrea L. Roberts, Ph.D., research associate at Harvard, said:

“Women with PTSD and the health professionals who care for them should be aware that these women are at greater risk for diabetes. As fewer than half of Americans with PTSD receive treatment, our study adds urgency to the effort to improve access to mental health care to address factors that contribute to diabetes and other chronic diseases.”

The study was published online this month in JAMA Psychiatry.