The Diabetes Blues
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), around 6 percent of Americans over 18 have been diagnosed with depression. Studies have shown that people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have a greater risk than for developing it. Doctors aren’t sure why diabetes and depression can sometimes go hand-in-hand.
Some believe that the stress of a 24-hour condition like diabetes can take a toll on a person’s mental health. Others think depression is a result of additional health complications caused by diabetes. Fortunately, diabetes and depression can be treated together. If you or a loved one are experiencing depression, talk to your doctor about treatment options and coping techniques.
The first step in getting help is recognizing the symptoms of depression. According to the American Diabetes Association, if you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately.
- Lack of interest in favorite activities or hobbies
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of energy
- Suicidal thoughts
It’s important to remember that feeling down occasionally is completely normal. The American Diabetes Association says people who experience three or more of these symptoms over the course of several weeks should talk to their doctors because they may benefit from depression treatment.
What can be done
- Join a diabetes management program (Mayo Clinic) There, you can learn valuable information about treating your diabetes as well as tips on how to live a healthier life.
- Join a diabetes support group. Talking to others who understand your difficulties can help you feel less alienated. Many local hospitals offer free support groups for a variety of conditions. You can also visit the American Diabetes Association’s calendar for a list of community events where you can get involved.
- Start cognitive behavior therapy, if recommended by your doctor. According to Mayo Clinic, cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common treatment options. A counselor will help you become more aware of negative thinking so that you can tackle problems with a more positive, forward-thinking approach. This type of treatment is often popular with diabetes patients because it helps them learn to manage their condition with a more optimistic, can-do attitude.
- Reach out to a therapist to have someone to talk to about how you are feeling and understand how to cope with the stresses of Diabetes. During the Iowa Diabetes Facebook Live Session, we covered this topic with Brenda Wood-Clark, a licensed therapist. Feel free to watch the Facebook Live to dig deeper into this topic. Or contact Brenda Wood-Clark at Choices Therapy Services (515-279-0111).
Diabetes and depression can sometimes go hand in hand, but there are plenty of resources to help you get back on your feet!