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Diabetes Knowledge

Why Diabetes is Also a Mental Health Topic

4/12/2022 by mySugr

Why Diabetes is Also a Mental Health Topic

Diabetes involves a lot more than numbers. It’s a mental game, too. Spending time tracking blood sugar, planning healthy meals, taking medicines, and staying active — that’s a lot on your mind daily.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, don’t forget about your mental health. There’s a link between diabetes and multiple mental health conditions.

Changing your entire lifestyle proves stressful. Tracking blood sugar and insulin doses seems foreign, especially at first. Worrying about rapid changes in blood sugar may leave you feeling fearful. Quick changes in blood sugar may result in changes to your mood, or other mental symptoms like anxiety, difficulty thinking clearly, and fatigue.1

Learning more about the connection between diabetes and mental health can help you learn to manage both more effectively.

Diabetes and mental health: How are they connected?

Although researchers don’t fully understand the relationship between diabetes and mental health, scientists have discovered multiple ways they are connected. A few of the connections found include:

  • Individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of depression, eating disorders, and anxiety.2
  • People who have type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of disordered eating.3
  • Bulimia is the most common type of eating disorder among women who have type 1 diabetes.3
  • Women who have type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of binge eating.3

People with diabetes may end up with diabetes distress, which shares some of the same symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. An estimated 33-50% of people who have diabetes will deal with diabetes distress.4

Yes, there’s a significant link between diabetes and mental health challenges. Unfortunately, many people don’t get the help they need because they fear talking about their problems. Anytime you feel like something isn’t quite right, speak up and discuss it with your care team.

Managing diabetes and mental health

Many treatments exist for mental health conditions, and it’s possible to manage both diabetes and mental health at the same time. A few tips for managing both diabetes and mental health include:

  1. Consider a diabetes self-management program – These programs focus on behavior. They can help you improve fitness levels, better manage blood sugar, maintain a healthy weight, and more. They often help improve overall quality of life and improve your sense of well-being, too.
  2. Talk to your doctor about psychotherapy – Individuals who participate in psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, often see improvements in mental health conditions like depression. This results in improved diabetes management.
  3. Discuss new medications with your physician – You may already take medications to help manage your diabetes. Medications for mental health conditions may help, too. Some evidence even shows that medicines like antidepressants may help with blood sugar and blood pressure control in people with diabetes.5






The mySugr website does not provide medical or legal advice. mySugr blog articles are not scientific articles, but intended for informational purposes only.
Medical or nutritional information on the mySugr website is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult a physician or health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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