World Diabetes Day: Are depression and diabetes interlinked?

World Diabetes Day: Are depression and diabetes interlinked?

To feel sad and hopeless at times is normal. However, if such feelings persist, then it could indicate major depressive disorder. Depression is a serious mental illness that can strike anyone. It impacts an individual’s daily life and can make him/her feel sad, irritated, hopeless, guilty, lethargic and low on energy. It is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. Around 16.1 million adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in 2014, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

An individual dealing with depression is at a higher risk of developing several other health ailments, one of them is diabetes. Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a condition in which a person has a high level of blood glucose. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014, shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 29.1 million people or 9.3 percent of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes. A number of studies conducted across the U.S. suggest that individuals with diabetes are four times as likely to develop depression as people without diabetes. Similarly, an individual with depression is more likely to develop diabetes.

Led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and created together with the World Health Organization (WHO), World Diabetes Day is commemorated annually on November 14, and was created to address the rapidly growing health threat posed by diabetes. With its theme as “Eyes on Diabetes,” for 2016, this year the focus is on early diagnosis of type-2 diabetes and its treatment, so that there is a reduced risk of developing any serious complications. This World Diabetes Day, let’s take a look at how diabetes and depression are interrelated so that the issue of developing severe mental health disorders can also be curbed.

Depression and diabetes: One can lead to the other

An individual with diabetes has to deal with the unwanted stress of managing his/her diabetes. Owing to this, such people may even start distancing themselves from family and friends to better manage the condition. This may result in the person feeling increasingly lonely, frustrated and sad. There are also higher chances of the person developing undesirable tension with the doctor. All such factors can trigger depression.

On the other hand, an individual with depression tends to feel low on energy and therefore, might skip his/her regular sugar level tests. People with depression may not maintain a balanced diet, which is essential to keep the blood sugar levels in control. Poor lifestyle decisions such as unhealthy eating, less exercise, smoking and weight gain due to high levels of anxiety and/ or stress can worsen diabetes. An inability to perform tasks, communicate and think clearly further worsens such an individual’s ability to manage diabetes.

Factors such as alterations in the brain chemistry due to diabetes can also lead to depression. Diabetes can result in blockage of blood vessels in the human brain which in turn can contribute to depression in individuals with diabetes. On the other hand, changes in the human brain that occur due to depression can increase the risk of complications due to diabetes in a person.

Cure for depression

As the article notes, it is important that people keep a check on their diabetes. Alternatively, if someone feels that he/she is suffering from depression, it is crucial that the person discuss his/her feelings of depression with family or friends, especially if the person also has diabetes. Keeping it to oneself can worsen the condition. Consulting a medical expert is also important to cure depression as well as diabetes.

If you, or someone you know, is dealing with depression, seek medical help immediately. Sovereign Health’s depression treatment centers in California can provide customized treatment plans for people suffering from depression. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-619-7729 or chat online with our representatives who can provide details about our state-of-the-art mental health centers in California.


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