Managing diabetes is already a complex process, but doing so while also dealing with anxiety or depression can be even more challenging. The added stress of managing blood glucose, medication timing, and diet can cause a downward spiral in mental health, which can affect diabetes management.
Different mental health issues can impact diabetes management, such as diabetes distress, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Diabetes distress can affect people who are worried about living with diabetes, while depression can affect a person’s overall mental health, leading to sadness, numbness, and lack of motivation. Anxiety is characterized by intense worry and fear, which can make diabetes management even harder.
The link between these mental health issues and diabetes can create a feedback loop that exacerbates the first issue. For example, someone with social anxiety may avoid checking their blood glucose or taking insulin because of fears about what others may think of them. Fear of hypoglycemia can create intense anxiety, which prompts a person to mismanage their insulin to avoid low blood sugars.
However, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are treatable with the right support and guidance. Getting the needed support as soon as possible is key. Finding a therapist with expertise in diabetes can be challenging, but it is possible to find help from someone who does not have that specific expertise. Therapy can provide skills for managing emotions, as well as reassurance that anxiety and depression are treatable and manageable conditions.
In summary, managing diabetes with anxiety or depression can be challenging, but recognizing the link between these issues is important. Seeking professional help and support can make a significant difference in managing both diabetes and mental health.