Diabetes and depression are two conditions that are linked in many ways. Having either one makes you more likely to be affected by the other. Having both diabetes and depression can lead to complications, including decline in health and memory loss.
It’s important for doctors to address the mental side of diabetes, as those with diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop depression, and 86% of diabetics will suffer from depression at some point in their lives.
Many possible connections
Nine reasons diabetes and depression are connected are:
- Lack of physical activity, lethargy, or being overweight.
- Higher stress hormones like cortisol can affect glucose levels.
- The burden and isolation of constantly managing blood sugar and treatment for diabetes.
- Those with any chronic illness are more likely to be depressed.
- Those who are depressed find it harder to take care of themselves and keep up with their treatment.
- Certain medications to treat depression can increase diabetes risk.
- Lack of managing the emotional aspects of diabetes on the part of doctors and patients.
- Pain and stress of diabetes complications such as nerve damage.
- Feeling out of control of your own life, eating, and health.
If you feel like you might be depressed, talk with your doctor. There might be a physical reason behind it, such as blood sugar or sleep issues, thyroid problems, or medication side effects. If not a physical issue, your doctor can refer you to a counselor who can help guide you through your depression and learn how to manage it. Make sure to choose a counselor with whom you feel completely comfortable, possibly one who has experience treating people with diabetes.
Manage Your Stress
Some ways to deal with stress before it affects your glucose too much and possibly leads to depression are to exercise with others, start a hobby, learn a craft, take art therapy classes, or volunteer in your community. When a stressful situation occurs, take a deep breath and gain perspective before acting on it or over-worrying.