How Diabetes Affects Mental Health and Tips for Better Mental Health

Thrones health

Medically reviewed by Dr. Antonio Abreu, DNP
Written by Thrones Editorial Team

diabetes and mental health

Mental health and physical health are closely linked to one another. This couldn’t be further from the truth when we talk about diabetes and depression. While depression and diabetes are two very different health conditions that hardly get associated, the link between the two is far from trivial.

Getting diagnosed with diabetes can quickly become overwhelming. As a chronic condition that a person suddenly has to live with and manage 24/7, it is a major life change that a person has to go through. Diabetes is a condition characterized by an impaired capacity of the body to produce insulin. Insulin, a peptide hormone produced by the pancreas, enable cells to convert glucose into energy. Without enough insulin, cells cannot take in glucose and therefore, no energy can be converted from food. When this natural process is broken, high levels of glucose get stored in the blood, creating the condition we know as diabetes. While diabetes deals with impaired physiological processes in the body, it also poses a very huge impact on a person’s emotional well-being.

Transitioning towards managing a lifetime disease does not come easy for anyone. According to a Diabetes UK study of over 2,000 adults living with the chronic disease, diabetics are twice as likely to develop anxiety and depression over their concern about their condition. It’s common for diabetic patients to be fussing over whether they are managing their sickness properly, believing they have lost control over their lives, and even worrying about what other people think of their condition. This leads to intense worries and fears that can ultimately affect their mental health. Major changes in our lives can cause grief and over time, this can take a toll on any person. If diabetic patients can’t come to terms with this, they could very likely develop mental health conditions such as depression.

Depression and Mental Health

Experiencing grief over a major life change can affect a diabetic person’s well-being. Diabetes not only affects people in a physical sense, but can create psychological distress that could lead them to disengage from normal activities. More significantly, it can wreak havoc in their diabetes management plan, which creates a vicious cycle.

Diabetes entails a meticulous implementation of a diabetes management plan. These may include testing for blood glucose levels, timely intake of medications, regular physical activity, and a healthy eating plan, among others. As a chronic condition, diabetes could quickly escalate and come with numerous negative health consequences, if left poorly managed. However, executing these routines consistently takes commitment, which may not come easy for people who are discouraged or worse, have depression. 

Depression is more than just having a low mood or energy. Also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, depression is a serious mental illness that affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts, eventually. A person with depression could find it hard to execute normal activities or live their lives like most people. Depression gets in the way with how a person functions and disables them from engaging with life in a positive way. So while being diagnosed with diabetes is hard enough, life gets even more overwhelming when a diabetic person starts becoming depressed.

The same Diabetes UK study also found that having diabetes puts people at more than twice the risk of developing depression. Due to the burden of managing the condition on a daily basis and all the major changes that come along with it, diabetic patients’ mental health are at a highly vulnerable state.

Tips for Better Emotional Health with Diabetes

As critical as it is to get treated for diabetes, we can no longer overlook the equally important need for emotional wellness and mental well-being amongst diabetic patients. With the undeniable link between depression and diabetes, a lot of diabetic patients are also suffering mentally and emotionally. And this very likely lessens their capacity to care for their own needs, much less execute a rigorous diabetes management plan on a consistent basis. These tips could help people with diabetes improve their emotional health and wellbeing.

Write your feelings out.

Writing about your feelings and thoughts could be a powerful way of coping with diabetes. As you battle with tremendous and intense emotions coming towards acceptance for being sick and dealing with various limitations for your self and your life, writing could help you recognize some emotional triggers and patterns. Eventually these could enable you to find ways to deal with your emotions in a better and healthier way later on.

Reach out for support.

It might take a village for one chronic condition like diabetes to be managed consistently and reasonably well. But a good support system could boost a diabetic person’s energy, mood, and even amplify their hope for healing and recovery. 

Talk to a therapist.

Finding a good therapist can help make you feel safe to express your emotions. Sometimes, it may take another person to help make sense of what we’re going through. A skilled therapist may also teach you techniques to enable you to deal with various emotional challenges relating to your condition.

Make an effort to move daily.

Physical movement and exercise often makes up a huge part of a diabetes management plan. Daily movement helps you to maintain good health, energy, manage stress, and could play a huge role in managing anxiety and keeping depression at bay. Exercise comes with numerous benefits for your physical health and mental well-being.

Get enough rest and sleep.

One of the basic health necessities is having sufficient rest and sleep. Now that your body is coping with several changes and trying to function normally amidst a health condition, rest and sleep has never been more necessary as well. 

Practice gratitude.

Gratitude is never overrated. Though it sounds cheesy to some people, various scientific studies have proven time and time again that practicing gratitude boosts happiness and well-being. Just by thinking of reasons to feel thankful, your mood and energy can shift towards more positivity. And you need a more positive outlook in managing diabetes long-term.

Mindfulness Techniques.

A calm mind is powerful and more potent for healing. The likelihood of developing depression when a person has diabetes tends to be greater due to the fear and worries that come along with a huge health challenge. Try meditation, deep breathing, and other mindfulness practices to calm those frazzled nerves. Solutions also come more easily to us when we’re in a state of calm than if we’re anxious, worried, and frightened. Calmness could become your superpower against managing diabetes.

Key Takeaways

It’s not easy for anyone to get diagnosed with a chronic condition such as diabetes. Apart from having to deal with a major life change and health challenge, a diabetic person’s physical health could ultimately affect their mental state. 

At worst, diabetes puts a person at a greater risk of depression. When a person is both depressed and has diabetes, thriving over their diabetes management plan becomes a huge challenge. Not only is diabetes hard to manage, but depression can disable diabetic people further from functioning normally and doing what is best for their health. 

It’s worth looking at how diabetes and mental health are so closely linked to one another, and finding ways to boost emotional health whilst struggling with a chronic health condition. 

Thrones Health is a telemedicine service company that caters to men’s various health needs. It’s time to look after your overall health and talk to a physician that understands your condition and deliver treatment at your convenience.

Talk to your doctor today.

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