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Diabetes and Mental Health

Diabetes is not just a physical health condition. Indeed, it affects much more than one’s blood sugar and body. It is not uncommon for diabetes to lead to emotional strain both individually and relationally. The physical effects of diabetes at the moment are emotionally challenging not to mention its larger effects on life as a  whole. For example, when a diabetic experiences low blood sugar, it is normal to  experience: 

  • confusion and concentration difficulties 
  • co-ordination and decision-making difficulties 
  • aggression and irritability 
  • personality or behavior changes 
  • surges in adrenaline, leading to a fight-or-flight response  
  • sudden changes in mood 

While these symptoms usually resolve when blood sugar returns to normal,  they often take a toll emotionally. Such symptoms may include: 

  • anxiety or nervousness 
  • lack of clarity, feeling lost 
  • depression or doubt 
  • low self-esteem or lack of confidence  
  • lack of energy or vitality 
  • dementia or delirium in later life 

Sometimes individuals with diabetes, as well as their friends or family, struggle to understand these emotional complications. It can be a time that is confusing and uncertain for all involved. However, learning about how diabetes affects mental health as well as what can be done, can help build a stronger, healthier relationship. Some of these suggestions might help: 

  • Take time to learn about diabetes, getting informed and educated
  • Allow time to transition to new routines and create new norms as well as  understand that managing diabetes is challenging 
  • Build a support network and consider enrolling in a diabetes management program 
  • Exercise regularly, together if possible, and support one another in healthy eating habits
  • Do what is possible in terms of reducing stress and busy-ness
  • Schedule time to connect and enjoy fun activities 
  • Have a coach, therapist, or medical professional answer questions and offer tools

Diabetes is not an easy condition to manage, physically, emotionally, or relationally. However, much can be done and resources are plentiful. Give yourself the gift of support, tools, and guidance! Learn more: information on how to manage metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

 

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