September 21, 2021

Can Blood Sugar Cause Mood Swings? | Mental Health Matters

How Does Diabetes Affect Mood and Relationships? In this piece we'll talk about mood swings impacted by blood sugar highs and lows and the impacts of dealing with this complex disease.

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Diabetes effects on mood

Home / Living with Diabetes / Can Blood Sugar Cause Mood Swings? | Mental Health Matters

How Does Diabetes Affect Mood and Relationships?

Diabetes can cause mood swings due to the fluctuation of one’s blood glucose levels. Learn more about lifestyle tips that can help someone cope at US MED.

Most people know diabetes is associated with a broad range of physical symptoms. After all, people dealing with this condition must deal with everything from fatigue to increased hunger and thirst, not to mention potential complications. But have you ever wondered if diabetes can affect your mental health?

As it turns out, living with diabetes can have an impact on both your body and your state of mind. By reading this article, you’ll be able to learn about how diabetes can impact your mood – and how to deal with the mental health problems it can cause.

Diabetes and Mood Swings

One way diabetes can affect your mind is by causing unexpected mood swings. These are potential symptoms of unbalanced blood sugar levels.

Research has shown that hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can affect people’s moods in various ways. When your blood sugar is down, you may become irritable, depressed, or even mildly euphoric. Meanwhile, hyperglycemia or high blood sugar can cause anxiety. In many cases, these problems resolve themselves once a person’s blood sugar is back in range.

Anxiety, Depression, and Diabetes Distress

While mood swings are one of the most common mental issues brought about by diabetes, this is not the only way the disease can affect your state of mind. You may also need to handle the condition known as “diabetes distress.”

Diabetes distress shares elements with other mental health diagnoses, including the likes of anxiety and depression. It involves stressors tied to diabetes management, such as:

  • The risk of diabetes complications
  • Difficulties managing diabetes
  • A sense of powerlessness
  • Fears of missing a medication dose
  • Concerns about how others will see diabetes
  • The possibility of diabetes affecting employment

Though it may make you feel alone, diabetes distress is far from rare among people living with diabetes. In fact, “upwards of half” of diabetes patients can be expected to experience this state of mind.

Effects of Diabetes on Relationships

Of course, the mood swings and stress caused by diabetes can have effects of their own. It’s no secret that diabetes can affect your relationships.

Since diabetes is a chronic disease, living with it means you’ll likely need more emotional support. However, you may also be more susceptible to frustration while living with diabetes. Also, hyperglycemia can result in problems related to sex – and all of these factors may lead to relationship conflicts.

That said, you can help minimize the impact of diabetes on interactions with your loved ones. Communication is key – let them know how diabetes can affect your life and your state of mind.

Lifestyle Tips

Of course, the mental health issues described in this article are caused by diabetes. Because of that, improvements to your diabetes management strategy will likely limit their ability to affect your daily life.

You can make diabetes management easier by:

  • Creating a meal plan. By eating a diabetes-friendly diet and scheduling mealtimes, you can make significant strides towards managing your blood glucose levels.
  • Getting regular physical activity. Along with its physical health benefits, exercise has a positive effect on people’s moods.
  • Sticking to your medication schedule. Be sure to take insulin and other diabetes medications at the same time daily, and adjust your doses as needed.
  • Building a support network. Along with your healthcare team, it’s a good idea to join a support group or talk to friends and family about living with diabetes.
  • Having reasonable expectations. The progress you’re making may seem small at first, but the effects of these small changes will add up over time.

Tips for Helping Someone Cope


Even if you don’t personally have diabetes, you may be supporting someone who does. There are several ways you can help them live with their condition:

Be Willing To Talk

Sometimes, people with diabetes just need someone to talk to about their diagnosis. Ask them how you can make things easier for them or what managing diabetes is like. These questions may sound simple, but they can help people with diabetes feel less alone.

Keep Them Company

If your loved one has scheduled an appointment with their doctor or healthcare team, offer to come with them! You can also participate in healthy activities together, like going for a walk or attending classes on nutritious cooking.

Understand Their Situation

Managing diabetes can be grueling at times. Of course, you can’t be expected to know what this condition is like if you don’t have it. Still, it’s good to remember what your loved one is going through and be there to listen.

When to See a Doctor

For many people, following the advice included in this article will help alleviate some of the stress associated with diabetes. Still, these tips aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution – and some people with diabetes may need additional help from a medical professional. Most importantly, if you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.

Other mental health issues tied to diabetes should be taken seriously, too. For example, suppose you notice that a person with diabetes seems to be confused. In that case, they may be experiencing either dangerously low blood sugar levels or diabetic ketoacidosis.

Even if you or a loved one with diabetes are experiencing less severe problems, talking to a doctor may help. If you’re struggling with mood swings or diabetes distress, bring these issues up to your healthcare team when you have a chance.

Give Yourself Less To Worry About

The mental health issues tied to diabetes aren’t quite as well-known as the physical symptoms of this disease. However, they’re just as necessary to manage, and we hope the advice shared here will help you do so successfully.

Another great way to deal with diabetes distress is to eliminate potential stressors. While you can’t change some causes of stress, others can be avoided – like problems with diabetes supply management. US MED offers free priority shipping on all supply orders, and we can send you automatic reminders when it’s time to reorder supplies. Begin your journey towards simplifying your life by looking at the products we sell!

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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