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Diabetes and depression: How to cope

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While depression isn’t a common side effect of having diabetes, studies have begun to shown that people with diabetes have a greater risk of developing depression, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Depression can be circumstantial or chronic, but taking it seriously is an important part of maintaining overall health and a positive mindset – both of which are crucial for managing diabetes properly in the long run.

Isolation and stress

The stressors of managing diabetes on a daily basis could contribute to the onset of depression. Feeling alone or isolated from friends or family because of your condition can also exacerbate negative feelings or increase the stress response. Diabetes may also make you feel like you’re losing control of your health or your ability to take care of yourself. The complications that arise because of diabetes, like lack of energy or nerve damage, can make day-to-day life more difficult, too.

Recognizing depression

What’s the difference between a normal bout of the blues and depression?

Symptoms may be similar, but depression is usually more severe in nature and tends to last longer than a few days.

Depression symptoms usually include: changes in sleep patterns, increased or decreased appetite, loss of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, trouble focusing, loss of energy, nervousness, guilt or suicidal thoughts.

Complications

Having diabetes and depression can become complicated if depression-related behaviors become destructive to your health or mental state. For example, using alcohol, drugs, or food to cope with depression could impact your diabetes negatively. Additionally, mixing diabetes and depression medications could create more problems or side effects.

Treatment

Treating depression in people with diabetes involves a mind-body approach. It’s best to speak with your doctor about your symptoms to decide if you might benefit from psychotherapy or antidepressants. Just make sure to streamline your care so that any physicians or counselors you work with are on the same page when it comes to your treatment plan. This ensures your diabetes will stay under control while you treat the depression.

Check in with your local American Diabetes Association to find resources for counselors or psychiatrists who may have worked with people with diabetes in the past or who can refer you to an appropriate person.

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Source: American Diabetes Association

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