It is no surprise that diabetes doubles the risk of depression. Between balancing our diets, timing our insulin intakes, scheduling exercise, and managing the highs and lows of blood-sugar levels, things can get tough. This daily regimen is quite overwhelming and, if we are not careful, can make us more susceptible to feeling low.
Let’s take a closer look at how to manage this condition and examine how we can avoid the toxic coupling of diabetes and depression in the future.
Watching out for Depression
Often, depression can be quite evident and you are fully conscious of the fact that you are experiencing it. Sometimes, however, it can creep up on you and you remain unaware that you are suffering from the blues. Last time I fell into a deep depression, I had no clue that I was feeling down till someone said the magic words: “Are you depressed?”
Here are some signs to watch out for, particularly if you are a diabetic patient
- Increased instances of missing insulin/medicine dosages.
- Refusal to measure blood sugar levels on a regular basis.
- Guilt: Thoughts about self-blame and the “I can’t do anything right” feeling.
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lack of interest in normal activities.
- Trouble concentrating: In school or watching TV, your mind wanders and gets lost in random thoughts.
Any combination of these symptoms should prompt a visit to your doctor in order to determine your true health picture, both in a physical and mental sense.
Coping with Diabetes and Depression:
Medication is a useful tool in the fight against diabetes and depression, but there are other things we can do for ourselves that ensures these ailments are kicked to the curb.
- Psychotherapy: This can do wonders for you. It improves your depression and motivates you into taking care of your diabetes again.
- Regular exercise: This is a masterstroke since this will help regulate your blood sugars, as well as release the “good chemicals” in your brain to relieve the symptoms of depression.
- Collaborative care: This has shown good results in patients. Collaboration encourages a sense of accomplishment, team spirit and better care. Several online resources are available to get in touch with other diabetes patients. I recommend Reachout, an app that works as a support network for peer to peer chronic care. You can think of it as an online diabetes support group.
- A Balanced diet: A good diet will improve metabolism, help regulate blood sugars and help you fight your depression.
A Brighter Future
Remember that in the battle against diabetes and depression, you need help. Consult your doctor, follow their medical advice, and implement some of the tips mentioned above so that you can regain and maintain the healthy life that you deserve.
Some useful links for further information:
- A background into the symptoms of diabetes and depression.
- A guide on how to cope with these two conditions.
- How to help someone with depression.