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Diabetes Distress: The Link Between Diabetes And Mental Health

Diabetes Distress: The Link Between Diabetes and Mental Health 


People with diabetes are more likely to experience higher tendencies of developing mental health issues. These include mood swings, depression, anxiety, confusion, etc. Diabetes management, especially of the physical symptoms, is a constant battle. Once you are afflicted with diabetes, drugs and several lifestyle changes can become permanent. In this article, we’ll take a look at a mental health condition called diabetes distress and how to overcome it.  





Diabetes is a physical condition in which the body cannot regulate the blood sugar in its system. Managing this condition can be stressful, and doctors coined diabetes distress as the mental condition brought upon by this stress.   

Diabetes distress shares some characteristics of anxiety and depression. The symptoms that come with this condition vary from physical to mental, so it is crucial to be considerate when dealing with a loved one with diabetes or be kind to yourself when you are suffering from this illness.  



  • Sense of powerlessness  
  • Anxiety  
  • Short temper  
  • Nervousness  
  • Fatigue  
  • Sudden mood changes  
  • Depressive episodes  
  • Overthinking  


 RELATED ARTICLE: An Overview of Diabetes Definition, Types and Causes 



link to diabetes and mental health


A diabetes diagnosis can feel like your life has changed forever. It can also alter your lifestyle because managing this health condition means making changes to almost everything in your daily routine. You will feel restricted with your diet changes by eating specific kinds of food, restricting general alcohol intake, or quitting smoking.   

Responsibilities like tracking your blood glucose levels and insulin can be daunting, trips to your physician can take significant time away from work, and the costs of healthcare may be something you can barely afford. These changes can be emotionally taxing, and you might start to notice that you are feeling blue or have low levels of energy when managing your condition. As a result, your mental health will suffer.  



Here are the steps you can take to manage your diabetes and prevent distress: 

  • Stick to a regular meal schedule  
  • Exercise 3-5 times a week  
  • Involve yourself in relaxing activities  
  • Set alarms for your medicine intake  
  • Take things one step at a time  
  • Set manageable goals  
  • Join a support group or talk to your family and friends  
  • Enroll in a self-management program  
  • Talk to your doctor  
  • Go to a trained professional for depression counseling  



If you have a family member or friend who is going through diabetes distress, here are some ways you can help them cope with this condition: 

  • Ask about the well-being of your family member or friend. 
  • Empathize with their condition.  
  • Offer to go with them on activities that can help them like yoga, cooking lessons, going to the gym, etc.  
  • Understand that their mood swings and mental state is affected by diabetes.  
  • Talk to them and listen.  
  • Accompany them on trips to the doctor or psychologist.  



One of the biggest challenges of treating mental health conditions for people with diabetes is the low rate of detection. Only a third of people with diabetes and mental health conditions get proper diagnosis and treatment. It may be becauspeople’s symptoms when their blood sugar fluctuates can be confused for depression or anxiety.  


Diabetes patients also tend not to talk about depression at appointments in fear of the stigma. If you are experiencing diabetes distress, don’t hesitate to consult with your physician or counselor. Care Touch is here with you on your journey to restored health – both in mind and body. 





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