March 12 2019

Diabetes Info


Feeling down once in a while is normal. But some people feel a sadness that just won’t go away. Life seems hopeless. Feeling this way most of the day for two weeks or more is a sign of serious depression.

Does Diabetes Cause Depression?

At any given time, most people with diabetes do not have depression. But studies show that people with diabetes have a greater risk of depression than people without diabetes. There are no easy answers about why this is true.

The stress of daily diabetes management can build. You may feel alone or set apart from your friends and family because of all this extra work.

If you face diabetes complications such as nerve damage, or if you are having trouble keeping your blood sugar levels where you’d like, you may feel like you’re losing control of your diabetes. Even tension between you and your doctor may make you feel frustrated and sad.

Just like denial, depression can get you into a vicious cycle. It can block good diabetes self-care. If you are depressed and have no energy, chances are you will find such tasks as regular blood sugar testing too much. If you feel so anxious that you can’t think straight, it will be hard to keep up with a good diet. You may not feel like eating at all. Of course, this will affect your blood sugar levels.

Spotting Depression

Spotting depression is the first step. Getting help is the second.

If you have been feeling really sad, blue, or down in the dumps, check for these symptoms:

  • Loss of pleasure — You no longer take interest in doing things you used to enjoy.
  • Change in sleep patterns — You have trouble falling asleep, you wake often during the night, or you want to sleep more than usual, including during the day.
  • Early to rise — You wake up earlier than usual and cannot to get back to sleep.
  • Change in appetite — You eat more or less than you used to, resulting in a quick weight gain or weight loss.
  • Trouble concentrating — You can’t watch a TV program or read an article because other thoughts or feelings get in the way.
  • Loss of energy — You feel tired all the time.
  • Nervousness — You always feel so anxious you can’t sit still.
  • Guilt — You feel you “never do anything right” and worry that you are a burden to others.
  • Morning sadness — You feel worse in the morning than you do the rest of the day.
  • Suicidal thoughts — You feel you want to die or are thinking about ways to hurt yourself.

If you have three or more of these symptoms, or if you have just one or two but have been feeling bad for two weeks or more, it’s time to get help.

Depression can look different in a teenager. Teenagers who are depressed can have:

  • Declining school performance
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Anger, agitation, and/or irritability. 

Also note, depression can be related to age and life events such as loss of a job or a loved one. A family history of depression increases the risk, as does having low self-esteem and low social support.

Getting Help

If you are feeling symptoms of depression, don’t keep them to yourself. First, talk them over with your doctor. There may a physical cause for your depression.

Poor control of diabetes can cause symptoms that look like depression. During the day, high or low blood sugar may make you feel tired or anxious. Low blood sugar levels can also lead to hunger and eating too much. If you have low blood sugar at night, it could disturb your sleep. If you have high blood sugar at night, you may get up often to urinate and then feel tired during the day.

Other physical causes of depression can include the following:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Thyroid problems
  • Side effects from some medications

Do not stop taking a medication without telling your doctor. Your doctor will be able to help you discover if a physical problem is at the root of your sad feelings.

Mental Health Treatment

If you and your doctor rule out physical causes, your doctor will most likely refer you to a specialist. You might talk with a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, licensed clinical social worker, or professional counselor. In fact, your doctor may already work with mental health professionals on a diabetes treatment team.

All of these mental health professionals can guide you through the rough waters of depression. In general, there are two types of treatment:

  • Psychotherapy, or counseling
  • Antidepressant medication


Psychotherapy with a well-trained therapist can help you look at the problems that bring on depression. It can also help you find ways to relieve the problem. Therapy can be short term or long term. You should be sure you feel at ease with the therapist you choose.


If medication is advised, you will need to consult with a psychiatrist (a medical doctor with special training in diagnosing and treating mental or emotional disorders). Psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medication and treat physical causes of depression.

If you opt for trying an antidepressant drug, talk to the psychiatrist and your primary care provider about side effects, including how it might affect your blood sugar levels. Make sure that the doctors will consult about your care when needed. Many people do well with a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

If you have symptoms of depression, don’t wait too long to get help. If your health care provider cannot refer you to a mental health professional, contact your local psychiatric society or psychiatry department of a medical school, or the local branch of organizations for psychiatric social workers, psychologists, or mental health counselors. Your local American Diabetes Association may also be a good resource for counselors who have worked with people with diabetes.

Personal Story from the The Type 1 Diabetes Self-Care Manual by Jamie Wood, MD and Anne Peters, MD

Type 1 Diabetesa condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by a total lack of insulin. Occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but can appear in adults.X Self-Care Manual”/>

Happy Hour

Living with type 1 diabetes became much easier—and I dare say even fun—once I started connecting in person with other people who had type 1 diabetes. Being able to sit at a happy hour with a dozen other people going through the same things every day that you’re going through helps to disconnect from the bad days. You’ll no longer feel like you did something wrong; you’ll realize that bad days happen to everyone, so it can’t just be because of you. Having people you can commiserate with when you’re having a rough day will show you that even though you’re the one managing your diabetes, you’re not alone in the struggle.

—Craig Stubing

  • Last Reviewed: June 27, 2013
  • Last Edited: December 7, 2018

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Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

Posted 03/12/2019 by Mws R in category "Points of interest

About the Author

"If you are going to write, write from the heart." MwsR "Life has not been the easiest, but it could of been worse!" MwsR Life is about doing all you can to help others. Don't go chasing rainbows, "make your own pot of gold." Love, Hope, Faith, the greatest of these is Love!


  1. By Filosopete 🇿🇦 on

    As a diabetic who had been misdiagnosed for well over 35 years by GP’s, all manner of specialists, consultants, oncologists – you name them, I wss there. Three times I abdicated and reported voluntarily to psychiatrists. Each and every time, a team of psychiatrists discharged me and told me that my head was fine but that my doctor wasn’t doing her job. That she was looking in the wrong places. I was in the military and was taken ona disciplinary hearing and berated for “malingering” after doctor upon doctor found “nothing wrong.”

    Meanwhile, when I was four years old, several friends of my parents urged them to have me tested for diabetes. My mother had timeshare on the shores of De Nial, that river in Africa.

    When I was fifty, a radiologist who came from Benghazi in Libya, gave me one look and suggested I get myself tested for diabetes as my physique wss a dead giveaeay.Before I could even get an appointment, I ended up in ER at the nearest hospital and I was so sick that the triage sister put me right in front of about a hundred other waiting patients. A male nurse then found that I was diabetic but even he had to wait for the doctor to make the diagnosis.

    Feeding me Metformin and me cutting out carbs is what had now, for seven years, removed every form of “depression.”

    Maybe a century from now, medical professional won’t just reach for a writing pad and scrinble ‘depression” even when someone feeling a tad down with a common cold walks in, or having lost a job , mourning the death of a close relative, etc. Doctors get conditioned by the medical education system to look out for psychiatric conditions instead of FIRST eliminating bacterial infections in the gut, diabetes, food allergies, etc. Even the GP freshest from university suddenly shines as the next great psychiatrist.

    As about fifty percent type 2 diabetics don’t get diagnosed, it is evident that there are huge holes in the system. How long must I keep my arm in the dyke to keep the water out?

    They world wanted to strangle the good Prof Tim Noakes, a diabetic, who promotes LCHF/Banting/Keto. Without even knowing his professional side, and by sheer chance, I started living on red meat, green veg and tomatoes, sugar-free green tea sans dairy and lost 22kg, had oodles of energy and “lost 22 years” while my blood glucose stabilised at around 6.1 Tim Noakes has a point.

    And experience taught me what poison comes from a bakery.

    My pharmacist, who knows me well, referred me back to my doctor as he knows me well and point blank refused to give me the hastily prescribed fluoxitine.

    Thanks to metformin and a better LCHF lifestyle, I am still riding a major disaster with a song in my heart and a smile on my face, for seven years now. If anyone had reason to be depressed, my extreme life, trials and 21 year-old hectic Job experience would be sufficient.

    I cope but am staying well away from wheat, corn, rye, most Vegan foods as they are high in sugar, etc.

    I call myself “diabantic” and one with a zest for life. And a century or two from now, medical science hopefully will have caught up.

    1. By Mws R (Post author) on

      There is a lot of proof in staying away from or avoiding certain foods, as you have mentioned. Good job!

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