The authors studied data on psychiatric disorders in 34 insulin-dependent and 27 non-insulin dependent diabetic patients by comparison with 25 patients suffering from hypertension. Analysis was performed following clinical diagnosis (according to DSM III-R criteria), Hamilton Anxiety Inventory, Hopkins Symptom Check List 58 and Beck Anxiety Inventory. In all groups the two major psychiatric clinical diagnoses were anxiety disorders (respectively, 53, 59 and 60%, NS) and depressive disorders (respectively 21, 22 and 20%, NS). These disorders were more common in women. The influence of degenerative complications was studied. Insulin-dependent diabetics with objective nephropathy had significantly higher anxiety scores. In non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients, microangiopathy, diabetic foot and poor control (HbA1c > or = 10%) were also associated with depressive disorders. We conclude that diabetics present with high prevalences of anxiety and depressive disorders and we suggest specific therapeutic approaches.