Diabetes and Depression

In many cases of medical study, there are often several different health issues that can be linked to one another either by causation or simple correlation. One of the more common ones is the link between gum disease and heart health. Another popular one is anxiety and blood pressure. One that is only recently coming to light, however, is the possible link between diabetes and the prevalence of symptoms of depression.

It is thought that this link is not only possibly causal that diabetes can cause the onset of depressive symptoms, but also that the reverse is potentially true as well: that someone with a history of depression is more likely to develop diabetes. The meticulous interactions of the brain’s chemistry seem as if they could potentially work interchangeably in either direction. Diabetic neuropathy and blocked blood vessels to the brain have been seen to contribute to the onset of symptoms of depression, while there is also speculation that depression may cause changes in the brain that contribute to the development of diabetes.

One argument that is often made is the psychological impact of managing diabetes as more than a full-time job for all the effort it requires, which could in itself set in motion the development of depression. The energy necessary to manage diabetes is taxing and can easily affect emotions for all the stress it causes. These stressors can contribute to altered brain chemistry that eventually develops into exhibited symptoms. And with these symptoms comes a more difficult path of keeping up the regimen of managing diabetes in the long term. This vicious cycle perpetuates itself in that the inability to manage diabetes can exacerbate depression by way of amplifying the effects of change in brain chemistry. As if that weren’t enough, some medication that is often used to manage depression can be hindering to anyone with type-2 diabetes.

Managing your emotions when dealing with diabetes, keeping stressors to a minimum whenever possible, seems to be the most effective way of avoiding such changes. Changes that come about when emotions are poorly managed or not managed at all can include:

  • Sleep schedule disturbance
  • Disinterest in hobbies or activities that you once found enjoyable
  • Withdrawal from family or friends
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
  • Lack of self-care
  • A distinct feeling that diabetes as “ruined your life”

These are but a few of the difficulties faced by someone who poorly manages the stressors brought on by trying to manage diabetes, a list which also includes lack of a sex life and poorly managed weight. Every single one of these side effects, with the exception of the specificity regarding diabetes ruining your life, are also prominent side effects of a patient who suffers from depression.

So, what can you do to prevent such side effects from occuring? If you suffer from diabetes, the task of managing it is practically non-negotiable, which means the stress of managing it is almost inevitable. And therein lies your key. Managing stress in healthy ways is what appears to be the best way to avoid the onset of depression symptoms as well. Taking time for yourself whenever possible, keep close to people who are important to you. Maintaining a strong social life and a strong support system in your struggle against diabetes is one of the best ways of combating the stress that often accompanies it. And if you find that even these are only having a minimal impact or even no impact at all, consulting your physician could be necessary as determining any medication or other therapies that might help could be crucial in staving off further difficulty.