Diabetes and depression often go hand-in-hand. According to many studies, diabetes and depression appear to be intimately linked. People with diabetes may be more likely to become depressed, while people who suffer from depression may have a greater risk of developing diabetes.
To start with, simply being diagnosed with diabetes can pack an emotional wallop. For many people, it may be the first long-term health concern they’ve faced. The stress of dealing with new routines (diet, exercise, medication) and worries about the future are enough make anyone feel depressed.
Past studies have found that depression is associated with poor blood glucose control, diminished quality of life, and more time and money spent on health care. People who are depressed may not feel motivated to take care of themselves as carefully as needed. Some may binge on unhealthy snacks to lift their mood. Others may feel too tired or apathetic to exercise. Some people even lose track of how much medication they should be taking, or they may skip doses altogether. These negligent behaviors only increase the patient’s problems, leading to further complications—and possibly even to a doubled risk of death.1
It is estimated that up to a quarter of people with diabetes have bouts of depression, while up to 15% may suffer from major depression. Many people with diabetes may not realize that their emotional state can seriously affect their physical well-being. Patients may not mention feelings of anger, denial, or sadness to their doctor during regular visits because they don’t believe such feelings are related or relevant. Many doctors also may not think to ask after a patient’s emotional health unless the patient brings up the topic first. As a consequence, depression often remains undiagnosed and therefore untreated. To complicate matters, poorly-controlled diabetes can sometimes present symptoms that mimic that of depression.2 Blood sugar fluctuations can make you feel fatigued or nervous. Low blood sugar may cause you to overeat or sleep poorly.
Talking with a doctor, psychiatrist, or support group can help alleviate these feelings and give patients the support they need, as well as strategies to cope with the lifestyle changes that are an inevitable part of diabetes care. American Diabetes Wholesale urges you to speak with your healthcare professional if you think you may have experienced symptoms that mimic those of depression. He or she can help you determine whether your symptoms spring from physical or mental causes, and can point you toward the proper treatment to ensure your health and well-being.