A diabetes diagnosis can be life-altering but learning to live well with diabetes is necessary to maintain health and live a good quality of life. Not only must individuals with diabetes learn how to manage their blood sugar, but you must also prioritize your mental health as part of living well with diabetes.
Individuals with diabetes are at an increased risk of depression and anxiety. People with diabetes are up to three times more likely to have depression and 20% more likely to have anxiety.
Patients who are depressed or experiencing anxiety have a more challenging time managing diabetes. There’s a two-way relationship between diabetes and mental health. Not only does having diabetes boost the risk for mental health disorders, so does poorly managing your blood sugar.
Getting the help you need and keeping your blood sugar within a target range are the best ways to keep your mental health in shape and combat depression and anxiety.
The link between diabetes and depression
Fewer than half of people with diabetes who have depression seek professional diagnosis and treatment. Without treatment, depression tends to get worse.
The exact reason why diabetes raises the risk of depression is unclear. However, inflammatory mechanisms have a possible role both. Mounting evidence suggests that inflammatory chemicals contribute to type 2 diabetes and depression.
If you have symptoms of depression, it’s crucial to talk to a medical professional. Treatment with medication, therapy, or both can significantly improve the quality of life in people with diabetes. Depression is much more than a sad mood. Symptoms of depression include:
- Chronic feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling hopeless
- Thoughts of suicide
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Overeating or lack of appetite
Diabetes and anxiety disorders
Most people experience anxious feelings from time to time. These feelings usually go away on their own. People with anxiety disorders, however, experience persistent anxiety that interferes with their daily life.
Having diabetes increases the chances of having anxiety. Some people with diabetes have anxiety before their diagnosis, while others experience anxiety about managing diabetes. It’s critical to seek help from a medical provider if you experience persistent anxiety. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Excessive worrying
- Feeling restless
- Difficulty falling asleep
- A feeling of panic
- Increased heart rate
Diabetes management stress
The daily stress of managing diabetes can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Whether you have type 1 diabetes and must inject insulin several times a day or you’re living with type 2 diabetes and have to contend with carefully measuring and controlling your carbohydrate intake, stress is likely to mount.
The body and mind affect each other. Thoughts and feelings impact your health. Stress, for instance, causes several physiological reactions in the body that disrupts blood sugar regulation. This means that too much stress harms how well your body handles blood sugar.
Taking steps to keep your stress in check not only benefits your mental health, but it also promotes better blood sugar management.
Blood sugar and mood
Fluctuations in blood sugar can have a significant impact on your mood. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can cause:
- Mood swings
- Problems concentrating
- Trouble thinking clearly
You’re likely to experience a bout of low blood sugar if you have type 1 diabetes and you take too much insulin, or as a side effect of blood sugar-lowering medication for those with type 2 diabetes.
Keeping your blood sugar stable helps to keep your mood stable as well.
Forming a strong partnership with a medical professional is key to successfully managing diabetes and mental health. Internal medicine physician Dr. Prabhdeep Singh is committed to helping you feel and function at your best. For help managing diabetes and for all of your primary care needs, contact our El Centro, California office at 760-208-1338 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Singh. You can also book online at your convenience.