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Stress, Depression and Education

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  • Stress, Depression and Education

    Diabetes, Depression and Stress
    How can EDUCATION help?

    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. With depression, adherence to recommendations seems to wane.

    Many people newly diagnosed with diabetes go through stages of mourning:
    o Denial
    o Anger
    o Depression
    o 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.

    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.

    Patients may be advised to:
    o Spend time with family and friends
    o Exercise or walk to clear your head of negative thoughts
    o Find fun hobbies
    o Read a good book or watch a funny movie
    o Use meditative tapes to help you deeply breathe and relax
    o Look at the positive aspects of your life
    o Attend community diabetes support groups

    Patients who seek diabetes education on their own or those advised to attend counseling sessions by their physician achieve better compliance through knowledge, empowerment and support.

  • #2
    DH is having a very hard time with all this.

    He's not wanting to tell anyone that he has Type 2 diabetes. he's clinging to the idea that he can loose weight and make it go away.

    Frankly, he's already thin, I don't think that's going to work. What can I do to help him?


    • #3
      Type 2 diabetes and being thin

      If he is truly a Type 2 diabetic and is already at his ideal weight and his sugar is uncontrolled then he needs medication to help control his diabetes. Unfortunately, with denial comes complications since the person waits too long to control the disease.


      • #4
        Depression and Illnesses such as Diabetes

        I know that many illnesses can be made worse by a mental attitude. I always think that just because an illness can be controlled by the brain, it doesn't make it any less real.

        If you're feeling ok emotionally - illnesses are much more easy to contain don't you think? So this is sound advice from Marci)


        • #5
          He's monitoring his blood sugar now, they are going to do another "long term" blood sugar test after another 4 weeks.

          DH is slowly coming to accept that Diabetes is not the end of the world. It's hard, because he's never really had to pay attention to what he eats to stay thin and he's always eaten pretty healthy (other than maybe too much salt).

          We don't eat junk anyway, but he does like sweet things, especially dried fruit, cinnamon rolls, and chocolate--not that he ate them ALL the time.

          I think the whole Idea of having to do something with his "blood" all the time is sort of bothering him. The doctor gave him a meter and lancet that I've come to find out is not so great. Last night, I ordered him a contour meter with a lancet that is very fine. I'm hoping this will help.

          I'm trying to come up to speed as fast as I can on what I can do to make sure his meals are constructive. What I mean is that if eating the right amount of food and doing it in small meals all day long is better, then that's what I want it to be easy for him to do.

          For the next three days, I've lined up meals that he can split down into little mini-meals without much trouble. We did that yesterday and his blood suger didn't get above 180 all day--way better than the 360 that he was having.

          The doctor says that he will make a recommendation about medication after this initial "adjustment" period.

          I think it's hard for him even more because he's not the "type" that gets diabetes. He's not overweight or out of shape, we own property and he gets a lot of exercise doing work in it himself. He walks with the kids and myself, he plays basketball with our sons--he's active.

          So this was a big blow to his view of himself. He did have a grandfather that got diabetes when he got older. I think it also scared him because that grandfather had his legs amputated in his 70's. This (even though he won't voice it to his doctor) is his worst nightmare.

          Much of the stuff I'm reading, he's sitting beside me and reading too. I'm trying to help him however I can and so far, meal planning and information seem to be the best ways I can help. I'm trying to get him the information he needs to help this be more of a "challenging project" than an "end to life as he knows it."

          At first, he was kind of hoping it wasn't true and then when he tested his OWN bloodsugar and started to chart it . . . he got really scared. Scared is not something he wants to be, so he got kind of obstructive and touchy when the subject came up. Now, he just seems scared of what's to come, but he's coming around to the idea that he can DO stuff to make things better and to minimize the likelihood of complications.

          This has been a very difficult couple of weeks.

          I don't think the media helps, either. They talk on and on about how Type 2 diabetes is "lifestyle" induced. Well, sometimes . . . it just happens, maybe it was in his genes, who knows. But I think it's hard to think that if he'd done something differently that he wouldn't be a diabetic now. Heck, the man has big broad shoulders, is 6'2" and has never weighed over 180lbs in his life. He feels cheated (at least that's what he said).


          • #6

            People tend to be more compliant if they feel emotionally more positive.


            • #7
              I didn't realize how much stress contributed to diabetes until now. I overheard a friend of my mother's say that she developed Type 2 diabetes after stressing herself out when her husband died. I thought maybe this was far-fetched, but now that I've read this information I'm thinking differently. My dad died recently from cancer, but he also developed diabetes during his battle with the disease. Diabetes is prevalent on both sides of my family, so I already know I am susceptible to it. I'm so grateful that there is more information out there now so that I can be informed. That wasn't the case for my parents and other older relatives. Thanks, Marci, for all you do!


              • #8

                You're very welcome. I wouldn't say stress will develop diabetes unless you're already prone to it because it runs in your family. Stress of any kind - can be physical (like a heart attack or accident) as well as emotional - can be a trigger. Remember, stress is an inflammatory agent and that is why it is so dangerous to us. Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, etc.


                • #9
                  When my son was 1st dxd I was very stress out , and was even depressed think it was my fault he was in this situation. Bu thorough education and learning how to cope with the disease I became a little at easy. I say a little but he is small and he still can not communicate how his body feels to me so I worry and stress about that.


                  • #10
                    I have known diabetics who had to take anti-depressant medications to cope with the changes in their lives.

                    At what point should someone be encouraged to use medications for their depression? I ask because, knowing myself, none of the suggested activities would work for me because none of them actually alter the brain chemistry that accompanies depression.

                    Any ideas?


                    • #11

                      I'd speak to my doctor or see a psychiatrist or psychologist for an evaluation to get your best answer!


                      • #12
                        Actually anti-depressant medications help to treat depression. If not agree then, better consult to your physician.