June 14, 2022

Diabetes and Depression: How to Manage These Health Conditions

Both diabetes and depression can be difficult conditions to manage - and that’s especially true when you’re dealing with both at the same time. Get advice on how to cope from US MED. 

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Between insulin injections, dietary changes, tracking glucose levels, and everything else, diabetes management can make anyone blue at times. However, if you’re constantly feeling down, the root cause might be more severe than frustration towards your diabetes management routine. People with diabetes have a significantly higher depression risk than the average population. 

 Do you believe you might have depression, or do you have diabetes and want to be aware of the risks? Either way, doing some research as early as possible can pay off. Read on for our complete guide to the signs of depression in people with diabetes and advice on managing both conditions successfully. 

The Links Between Diabetes and Depression 

In many cases, people think of “depression” as a synonym for “sadness.” This illness can cause feelings of sadness, but there’s more to it than that. It can also lead to reduced interest in once-pleasurable activities, as well as difficulties that can interfere with your ability to function normally. 

Does Diabetes Cause Depression? 

According to the CDC, the risk of depression in people with diabetes is two to three times higher than in other people. However, it’s not clear why that’s the case. Regardless, only 25 to 50 percent of people with diabetes who also have depression get the formal diagnosis and treatment they need. 

Look Out for These Depression Symptoms 

If you think you might have depression, keep an eye out for symptoms such as: 

  • Reduced or excessive sleep 
  • Overeating or a loss of appetite 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, guilt, or irritability 
  • Unexplained aches/pains, headaches, digestive issues, or cramps 
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death 

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? If so, reach out to your healthcare team as soon as possible. 

Managing Depression and Diabetes 

Since depression can make it harder to focus, it may also affect your ability to follow your diabetes management plan. Fortunately, life with depression and diabetes doesn’t have to be unmanageable. Here’s how to work towards accomplishing that goal: 

Take The Right Medications – For Both Conditions 

Everyone with type 1 diabetes needs insulin for successful diabetes management, and so do some people with type 2 diabetes. Along with insulin and other diabetes medications, you may need to take SSRIs or other antidepressants while managing your mental and physical health. 

Make Lifestyle Changes 

When paired with the right medication, lifestyle changes can effectively treat both diabetes and depression. Continue following your healthcare team’s recommendations on dieting and exercise while making adjustments as needed. 

Explore Diabetes Self-Management 

Diabetes programs with a focus on behavior can come with some significant perks. These programs have been able to help people with diabetes get better metabolic control, improve their physical fitness, and lose weight. They can also improve people’s mental well-being, making them an excellent fit for people with diabetes and depression. 

Consider Additional Care Options 

In some cases, collaborative care supervised by a nurse care manager can improve diabetes and depression alike. This form of care is not available in all healthcare systems, but it may still be worth looking into. 

Diabetes effects on mood

Dealing With Other Mental Health Conditions 

Naturally, depression isn’t the only mental health problem affecting people with diabetes. These two issues are especially noteworthy: 

Anxiety and Diabetes  

Some stress related to diabetes management is normal – unpleasant, but normal. That said, stress can affect diabetes in ways both obvious (decreased attentiveness to diabetes management) and subtle (unpredictable blood sugar fluctuations). 

Can Diabetes Cause Anxiety? 

Excessive stress can lead to feelings of anxiety, so it makes sense that people with diabetes have a risk of anxiety that is 20 percent higher than everyone else. If you have an anxiety disorder, therapy is likely the best way to manage it. You may also want to look into medicine and relaxation techniques, not to mention the same lifestyle changes that can improve diabetes and depression. 

Diabetes Distress 

Are you feeling like your efforts to manage your diabetes aren’t paying off? If so, you might be experiencing a condition known as “diabetes distress.” Diabetes distress affects anywhere from 33 to 50 percent of people with diabetes in a given 18-month period, and it shouldn’t be overlooked. As a result of this condition, you could fall into unhealthy patterns like not checking your blood glucose levels or even skipping doctor’s appointments. 

Since you can’t treat diabetes distress with medication, you’ll need to find other ways of managing this condition. You can start by focusing on a few smaller goals related to diabetes management, seeing an endocrinologist for diabetes care, talking to a diabetes educator or mental health counselor, and joining a support group for people with diabetes. 

Choose US MED For Reliable Diabetes Supply Delivery 

Whether or not you have depression, keeping up with every aspect of your diabetes management routine can be overwhelming at times. Of course, some elements of this routine (such as insulin injections and glucose monitoring) are a fact of life. But you can take steps to simplify others – including the process of ordering diabetes supplies. 

For more than 20 years, US MED has been a trustworthy name in the world of diabetes supplies. At US MED, we have an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and have been accredited by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and the Accreditation Commission for Healthcare. Start shopping today to enjoy our free priority shipping, automatic reorder reminders, and other benefits! 

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

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

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