Welcome to DIY (Do It Yourself) Diabetes with Marci Page Sloane

Diabetes & Depression
Which comes first diabetes or depression?

Understanding the diabetes and depression is like asking the question: What came first the chicken or the egg?

Stress can affect blood sugar levels and having diabetes can add stress to people’s lives. Experiencing stress for a prolonged period of time may result in depression.

Many people newly diagnosed with diabetes go through stages of mourning:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Many people are in denial about their disease. “Oh, it’s just a little sugar,” some might say or “I feel fine, I’ll just cut back on my sweets,” or “I’m only borderline.”

Sometimes these people who are in denial will end up with a complication of diabetes, like nerve damage, and then they start to take it seriously and become angry.

While angry, they acknowledge how much of a responsibility diabetes is and the devastating complications they may suffer from if they choose to ignore it. For many, the next stage is acceptance. They accept their disease and make strides in controlling it the best way possible. Others, become depressed.

Are you depressed?
People with diabetes tend to have a greater risk of depression than people without diabetes. This may be due to the responsibility of managing a disease that requires a lot of thought, daily. The possible complications may add stress to your life. Even fluctuating blood sugars can affect your moods.

If you have been feeling very sad, or if you worry that you may be depressed please seek the help of a professional – a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker, or:

  • Speak with your doctor
  • Talk with family, friends, support groups for diabetes
  • Exercise or walk to clear your head of negative thoughts
  • Find fun hobbies
  • Use meditative tapes to help you deeply breathe and relax

Marci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University. Marci is the author of The Diet Game: Playing for Life! More about Marci Sloane

The goal of Destination Diabetes® is to be a useful and credible resource for the more than 20 million children and adults who have diabetes in the U.S. and their families. Destination Diabetes® provides information on a wide range of diabetes health and wellness topics. Articles are written or reviewed by diabetes advisors who have experience in diabetes education.