Diabetes Burnout

Understanding Diabetes Burnout:
What Pharma Can Learn To Help People Better Manage Type 2 Diabetes

People who are living with type 2 diabetes have a daily regimen to manage their condition that for many becomes tiresome, and may lead to a state often referred to as diabetes “burnout.” Diabetes burnout is the feeling of being overwhelmed and extremely frustrated by the continuous tasks related to diabetes self-care, in which people grow tired of managing their condition and may ignore it for a period of time.

Recent Health Union survey data of 2,142 people living with type 2 diabetes showed that 58% of respondents indicated they have experienced burnout related to their condition. The implications of burnout can be acute: Shelley Hlymbicky, a contributor and moderator for Type2Diabetes.com, has been living with type 2 diabetes since 2005 and writes,

“I’ve lived through burnout. It lasted about a year. I went from managing my diabetes effectively for 8 years with diet and exercise: eating in a way that supported my health, walking and testing. Then some things in my life changed. I had to cope with illness in elderly family members who lived a couple hours away, my job satisfaction was lower and my young adult kids were going through normal growing pains. Let me tell you, diabetes was the last thing on my mind. Something had to give. It was my diabetes care. I found myself saying ‘I’m not diabetic today’ as I scarfed down whatever food I wanted. I also recall thinking ‘I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.’”

Taking a closer look at the survey responses shows that of those who said they experienced burnout, they are more likely than those who have not experienced burnout to feel like they’ve tried everything to manage their symptoms but still do not feel controlled on their current treatment plan.* Those who experience diabetes burnout are also more likely to say:**

  • They do not feel confident they’re doing all things necessary to manage their type 2 diabetes on a regular basis.
  • They do not feel confident they’re using the proper medication and/or dosage to control their blood sugar.
  • They do not feel it is easy to take their medication where or when they’re supposed to.

When feelings of diabetes burnout may lead to issues with care management and treatment

Understanding the variety of real-world implications of diabetes burnout can help pharma impact people during critical points of their patient journey–and also reach the people who may be involved in that patient’s care, as well. When asked what kind of support they wished they received from others, survey respondents who experienced burnout were more likely to say they wanted help finding coping techniques, understanding medical care, someone to attend and/or take notes during their doctor appointments, and help to select a medical or treatment plan. 

Health Union’s custom media opportunities can help pharma reach the right people around contextually relevant content in condition-specific online health communities like Type2Diabetes.com. By providing support, education, and validation for the myriad of different experiences that come with living with this condition, Health Union helps make pharma smarter when it comes to reaching people along their healthcare journey with more effective direct-to-consumer marketing programs. Get more in-depth survey data from Type 2 Diabetes In America 2019 by reaching out to learn more about our B2B solutions in custom media, marketing research, and clinical trial opportunities.

*Top 2 box on a 7-point scale.

**Bottom 2 box on a 7-point scale.