Diabetes and Depression

Depression and Diabetes Do Not Have to Go Hand-in-Hand

People with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes. Unfortunately, only 25% to 50% of diabetes patients who have depression get diagnosed and treated.[1]

Getting a diabetes diagnosis can be like a roller coaster ride. Consistent glucose levels can be difficult to achieve especially when prescribed insulin. Depression and anxiety may be likely.

Having poor control of diabetes may cause symptoms that appear to be depression. When glucose levels are high or too low, you may feel tired or anxious. People with depression have a higher risk of complications from diabetes. One study suggests that people who have both diabetes and depression are 82 percent more likely to have a heart attack.[2]

What are symptoms of diabetes depression?

  • Inability to concentrate
  • No longer finding pleasure in activities or hobbies you enjoy
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much, not wanting to get out of bed or off the couch
  • Feeling isolated or alone
  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling anxious or irritable
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Feeling hopeless or guilty
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or suicidal thoughts

How can I address this?

Realize you are not alone. Depression is not a weakness and it is not something you can just snap out of. It also does not mean you have to remain in a depressed state.

Contact your physician to discuss your symptoms. They can help determine your best course of action. There is no shame or blame. Talking with other people with diabetes can help create a bridge to feeling better.

There may be a link between low levels of folate and depression. Additionally, zinc deficiency may produce apathy and depression. With diabetes you may be low in folate, zinc and vitamin B12.

Get tested to determine if deficiency is an underlying cause. If so, supplementing along with proper education may help you in your quest to feeling good again.

The magic answer we hear is “diet and exercise.” There are many, many people with diabetes that I speak with who say they are tired of hearing this. It is not the phrase that helps, it seems to create more anxiety and sense of guilt and failure.

Gaining education can help put the disease in perspective. You may be unknowingly sabotaging your efforts. Therefore, glucose improvement seems to elude you.

I want to encourage you to take that next step. It can be the best thing you do for yourself.