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Exploring a Diabetes – Mental Health Connection

diabetes and mental health

Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes certainly isn’t news anyone likes to hear, but there are plenty of other diagnoses that can and should be a whole lot more troubling. After all, diabetes rarely if ever means that your life is going to be in danger, although it may be if you choose not to address the requirement to be lowering your blood sugar levels going forward. No one is going to do that, but is it possible that people become depressed when they learn they are now a diabetic? This leads to a bigger question of whether there is a connection between diabetes and mental health.

Let’s start by saying it has been determined that many different psychiatric disorders are more prevalent in people with diabetes, and they include depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, eating and sleep disorders, and others. There is also diabetes distress, which is not classified as a mental health disorder itself but is a very legitimate state of mental unwellness where people can’t help but fret over the possibility that they’re not succeeding with managing their diabetes. There is more to it than that, but diabetes distress can be summarized as diabetes and mental health taking over your life.

And it may be that the most pressing concern when it comes to diabetes and mental health is that if a person does start to have distress and anxiety about being a diabetic then it may start preventing them from doing what is required of them for managing diabetes. We can also look at this conversely with the fact that people with major depressive disorder or are bipolar or schizophrenic have more of a risk of developing diabetes. So, there is something of a bad cycle to this, and it may be helpful for newly diagnosed diabetics to know they might want to pay attention to their mental health.

Depressing Diagnosis?

So, there is some truth to diabetes possibly making people depressed, and it turns out that is more of a risk for some people than others when it comes to diabetes and mental health. There are a lot of things women tend to do better than men do but staying resilient mentally in the face of diabetes isn’t one of them. Obsessive thoughts can factor into diabetes distress in quite a big way, and women who find it is hard to reign these thoughts in may become depressed because of diabetes. Mood disorders can be a reality for people for all sorts of different reasons.

Another aspect of diabetes and mental health may be that people are intimidated about what they’ll need to pay for diabetes medication. We won’t go on much about that but if medication of any sort is too expensive for you then you can order diabetes medication online from Canada. If you’re not well because of recently being diagnosed with diabetes the last thing you need is to be stressing over finances too.

There can also be connections between diabetes and mental health for people living in poverty and especially those who lack social supports. Same goes for people with a history of trauma, abuse, or neglect and people who are dealing with substance use disorders at the same time. Excessive alcohol consumption in particular will make diabetes worse and there have been many documented instances where people with different degrees of substance use disorders have mental health problems heightened when dealing with diabetes.

Stress Response & Nervous System

We’ve made clear how having diabetes can make a person depressed or have another type of mental health illness. It can also make a person’s existing depression worsen, but let’s spend the rest of this entry talking about the physiological workings of what goes on with diabetes and mental health and how one can make the other worse. It is estimated that people with diabetes have 2 to 3x the risk of depression than people who don’t have ongoing high blood sugar levels.

It turns out that all of this has to do with stress response and the release of excess cortisol and adrenaline. This stimulates the sympathetic nervous system but more problematic is the way that these hormones stimulate fear circuits in the brain and what tends to happen very often for new diabetics is that they start to have strong responses to anxiety triggers. Some may have existed previously, and some may be entirely new. One related to your overall health and fears that your diabetes is endangering it are common new concerns and often a part of Type 2 diabetes and mental health.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.


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