Safety Slogans

Diabetes and Depression

blood glucose meters

Diabetics are nearly three times more likely to suffer from depression compared to the rest of the population. Two types of diabetes are identified: type 1 diabetes (T1D), which occurs during childhood and adolescence, and type 2 diabetes (T2D), which develops in the vast majority of cases during adulthood. About 90% of diabetics are affected by type 2.

T1D is treated with insulin; while the management of T2D is based on a healthy diet, exercise, oral antidiabetic drugs, and later in the evolution of the disease, insulin injections if necessary.

What is depression?

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes depression as:

"A common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, sleep disorders or appetite, low energy consumption and a lack of concentration."

Diabetes and Depression

Depression can affect anyone at any age. Many factors and different situations can lead to depression. Being diagnosed with diabetes type 1 or type 2 can be very stressful. Often, patients need to change their lifestyle in order to manage their disease efficiently.

The stress of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, medical appointments and taking medications or insulin, can be a very difficult test and can sometimes lead to depression.

Moreover, diabetes is often associated with other chronic diseases, in addition to daily difficulties. People with depression and diabetes have a higher risk of developing other complications.

blood glucose monitor

Living with diabetes puts physical and psychosocial stresses. Adults and children with diabetes experience difficulty in maintaining a normal life. Fear of taking insulin, frustration with irregular blood sugar, shame among peers and feeling of helplessness, are only some of the problems related to diabetes which can lead to depression.

The quality of life among people with diabetes can be improved by self-care, practicing therapeutic exercise and relaxation sessions. By changing lifestyle, diabetes and depression can be improved. Exercise, management of blood glucose levels and healthy diet help maintain diabetes.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend psychopharmacological drugs. When necessary, antidepressants and psychotherapy are often considered efficient.

Symptoms to watch for

It is not unusual that depression symptoms go unnoticed. However,these mood disorders are not anodyne and can have a very negative impact on the treatment of diabetes: a depressed patient often seems not only less rigorous in taking his medication or his insulin but also in monitoring its regime food.

This can have an impact on glycemic control and eventual occurrence of complications. Many symptoms need to be taken seriously, such as:

• Unintentional gain or loss of weight
• Loss of interest in daily activities
• Fatigue
• Changes in sleep patterns
• Unexplained physical problems
• Backaches, headaches