There is a definite link between type 2 diabetes and depression, although it may not be fully understood what the link is. I have struggled with both for most of the 13 years since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I had struggled with depression in the past, but the intensity has been more “real” since the diagnosis if that makes sense.
In this brief article, we will touch the surface of the still water that often covers the depths of depression.
In the Mayo Clinic article, “What’s the connection between diabetes and depression? How can I cope if I have both?”, Dr. M. Regina Castro writes, “If you have diabetes — either type 1 or type 2 — you have an increased risk of developing depression. And if you’re depressed, you may have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that diabetes and depression can be treated together. And effectively managing one can have a positive effect on the other.”
I find it interesting that there could be a connection in the reverse here, too—that depression could result in a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The black pit of despair that accompanies depression could be setting up our minds and bodies for one of the biggest battles of our lives—fighting against type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Castro draws the correlation of some of the ways the two conditions kind of build off of each other (bulleted points are directly quoted from the original article):
- The rigors of managing diabetes can be stressful and lead to symptoms of depression.
- Diabetes can cause complications and health problems that may worsen symptoms of depression.
- Depression can lead to poor lifestyle decisions, such as unhealthy eating, less exercise, smoking, and weight gain — all of which are risk factors for diabetes.
- Depression affects your ability to perform tasks, communicate and think clearly. This can interfere with your ability to successfully manage diabetes.
From my personal experience diabetes and depression go hand in hand for many of these reasons.
It can be extremely depressing when you have done everything “right”—ate the right foods in the proper amount, exercised, took the prescribed medication and your blood sugar is still wildly out of control.
It can be depressing when you develop kidney or heart problems directly related to diabetes.
It is hard to not let depression rule your actions. It can cause you to be sluggish or in many cases, develop an “I just don’t care anymore,” attitude.
Dr. Castro identifies ways to deal with both depression and diabetes (bulleted points are directly quoted from the original article):
- Diabetes self-management programs. Diabetes programs that focus on behavior have been successful in helping people improve their metabolic control, increase fitness levels, and manage weight loss and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. They can also help improve your sense of well-being and quality of life.
- Psychotherapy. Similarly, participants in psychotherapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy, have reported improvements in depression, which has resulted in better diabetes management.
- Medications and lifestyle changes. Medications — for both diabetes and depression — and lifestyle changes, including different types of therapy coupled with regular exercise, can improve both conditions.
- Collaborative care. New research shows that treatment supervised by a nurse case manager that steps up therapy when needed helps improve both depression and diabetes. This type of care may not be available in most health care systems.
While these are some ways, I truly feel that life and health and wellness coaches can also be very helpful in dealing with depression. Once you can get your mind focused you can accomplish many things.
With health and wellness coaching you are, in essence, creating your own path. You get questions that help guide you and direct you to make your own life-changing future. I believe when we have this clear focus that comes from ourselves, then we are better able to lead a life of gratitude which in turn leaves us with much less to feel depressed about.
It isn’t all roses and butterflies, but we can take control of our emotions to a certain extent and make a better life for ourselves and for others, as well.
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About the author
Karin Nauber, is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 25 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. Karin has nine grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. Karin also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 13 years ago and has faced many challenges with the disease. If you would like to contact her, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.