Several studies show a link between diabetes and depression. Depression often occurs with many chronic health conditions, although we don’t know why. With diabetes, depression can impact self-care and diabetes management, and diabetes management can impact depression. There is also research showing that depression is a precursor to type II diabetes.
The stress of managing diabetes can be a burden at times, and it can be isolating when others don’t understand the impact of managing a chronic condition. You may also feel separated from others when you have to do things differently.
If you face diabetes complications such as nerve damage, or if you are having trouble keeping your blood sugar levels where you’d like, you may feel like you’re losing control of your diabetes. Even tension between you and your doctor may make you feel frustrated and sad.
Depression can promote a vicious cycle. It can block good diabetes self-care. If you are depressed and have no energy, you may find that regular blood sugar testing is a burden. If you feel so anxious about managing everything, it may be hard to keep a good diet or to exercise.
If you have been feeling sad or down in the dumps, check for these symptoms:
- Loss of pleasure — You no longer take interest in doing things you used to enjoy.
- Change in sleep patterns — You have trouble falling asleep, you wake often during the night, or you want to sleep more than usual, including during the day.
- Change in appetite — You eat more or less than you used to, resulting in a quick weight gain or weight loss.
- Trouble concentrating — You can’t watch a TV program or read an article because other thoughts or feelings get in the way.
- Loss of energy — You feel tired all the time.
- Nervousness — You always feel so anxious you can’t sit still.
- Guilt — You feel you “never do anything right” and worry that you are a burden to others.
- Suicidal thoughts — You feel you want to die or are thinking about ways to hurt yourself.
If you have three or more of these symptoms, or if you have just one or two but have been feeling bad for two weeks or more, it’s time to get help.
As a health psychologist, I specialize in diabetes and depression. Please call to receive support managing your depression if you have diabetes.