The Link Between Diabetes and Depression

Among the earliest signs of the diabets disease is a continuous sensation of feeling fatigued and listless. You may find that you easily become fatigued while doing tasks that used to take no effort whatsoever. In the early stages of a disease, in most cases, the body will give subtle hints like this signaling that something may be not quite right with it.

But even though you visit your doctor because you fear something may be wrong, it can still come as a shock to be told by your doctor that you have diabetes. You may go through various stages of denial and anger, but eventually you will come to accept the truth that you really do have diabetes.

In addition to its many physical symptoms, diabetes has some possible emotional one as well. Many people upon finding out that they have a grave illness will go through one or more preliminary bouts of depression. But with diabetes, there seems to be some additional psychological and physical link to depression. And, over the years researchers have documented a strong link between diabetes and depression.

There have been many peer group studies that show a person diagnosed with diabetes increases his or her risk of depression by 100 percent. Even taking into account that the psychological stress of learning that someone has diabetes will account for a small amount of the depression, a 100 percent increase is a huge number.

To date, there have been no studies that identify exactly why there should be a link between diabetes and depression, but there are a couple of theories that may provide us with a clue.

One such theory is that those suffering from depression are simply more likely to develop diabetes. According to this theory, there is some common metabolic disposition in the bodies of those with depression that puts them at risk for diabetes and vice versa. But there may also be a direct dietary cause. A depressed person, especially one not taking medication for his depression, is not caring for himself normally. He has more of a tendency to eat poorly, especially eating carbohydrate laden junk foods that have been demonstrated to increase blood sugar levels. A depressed person will also typically exercise less. In combination, these two factors can lead to obesity which, in turn, can lead to him developing type-2 diabetes.

A second theory is that diabetes itself is the spark. Studies have proven that diabetes causes the body’s sugar levels to vary wildly. Researchers of depression also know that depression is directly related to the body having poor and erratic blood sugar control. Knowing this connection, it would come as no surprise that a high number of diabetes sufferers could also experience depression.

The crucial matter to keep in mind, however, is that many effective treatments exist for both diabetes and depression. Many doctors observe that when treating depressed patients with psychotherapy and/or medication, that their blood sugar levels are also improved. And, even though, its yet to be proven, it’s probably true that successfully treating diabetic patients will simultaneously help with their depression.

Hopefully, understanding that depression is a possible side effect of diabetes will help diabetics to better understand why they’re feeling the way they do and encourage them to seek help for their possible depression symptoms as well.