Diabetes and depression

Diabetes can bring on depression.

Diabetes is a complicated chronic disease with many lifestyle factors to pay attention to daily. Individuals that have been diagnosed with diabetes whether it is type 1 or type 2 it is a frightening disease. Being diagnosed with diabetes does not mean you will experience depression for sure, but you have a higher chance of depressive episodes than someone that is not diabetic. On the flip side, if you are a person that suffers from depression but are not diabetic, being treated for depression increases your risk for developing diabetes.

Let’s begin with the idea of developing diabetes from depression. When a person is experiencing bouts of depression or is clinically depressed, medications could affect motivation to take care of oneself thus not fitting exercise in regularly, eating foods higher in saturated fat, sugars, and salt instead of nutritionally dense foods. These negative lifestyle habits can cause weight gain and also affects blood sugar levels increasing the possibility of developing diabetes.

According to an article by the American Diabetes Association it is important for individuals with diabetes to spot depression by:

  • 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.
  • Early to rise — You wake up earlier than usual and cannot to get back to sleep.
  • 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.
  • Morning sadness — You feel worse in the morning than you do the rest of the day.
  • Suicidal thoughts — You feel you want to die or are thinking about ways to hurt yourself.

It is recommended if you suffer from three or more of these symptoms, or if you just one or two but have been feeling bad for two weeks or more, it’s time to get help. Talk to your doctor about these feelings and thoughts to receive the help you need.

Remember diabetes can be a tricky disease. The symptoms mentioned above can be signs of depression but they can also be caused by poor diabetes control or poor glucose management. When blood sugars at a high level you can feel anxious or nervous and have a trouble concentrating. On the other hand, if your blood sugars are on the low end, you can have a loss of energy and change your thoughts in the morning.

Being diabetic is not easy and it may be frustrating to manage your day-to-day life when you have to always have your diabetes on your mind. Hopefully, healthy habits will form and managing blood sugars and the frustrating feelings associated with the chronic disease will be just as manageable.

Michigan State University Extension’s Health and Nutrition Institute has many programs to help individuals with their diabetes management. Experts from Michigan State University Extension make it possible to bring communities together and to educate citizens on a healthy lifestyle for a positive behavior change.

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