Diabetes and Depression are Poor Companions: Recent studies have keyed in on the role of depression in diabetes. One study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore found that those who suffer from depression are more likely to become diabetic. On the other hand they also found that those who are diabetic might be more likely to become clinically depressed.
In the first scenario it may be that depression leads to choices that contribute to onset diabetes. This may include weight gain, lack of physical activity and a stronger interest in alcohol and tobacco. That being said, the report does indicate that, “The more serious the [depressive] symptoms, the higher the risk of diabetes.”
It is believed that depression can elevate the body’s production of cortisol. Cortisol often impedes the body’s ability to deal effectively with insulin. The end result is a greater risk for diabetes.
In the second scenario the cumulative physical effects of diabetes may contribute to becoming depressed. This report indicates, “People who had been treated for diabetes were 54 percent more likely to develop depression symptoms than the others.”
Perhaps the greatest contributor to a diabetic developing depression stems from the need to deal with the life altering news that the individual must now live with diabetes. The impact of that news can often lead to feeling overwhelmed and ultimately depressed.
The American Diabetic Association (ADA) suggests the following list to check for depression if you are diabetic.
- Loss of pleasure You no longer take interest in doing things you used to enjoy.
- Change in sleep patterns You have trouble falling asleep, you wake often during the night, or you want to sleep more than usual, including during the day.
- Early to rise You wake up earlier than usual and cannot to get back to sleep.
- Change in appetite You eat more or less than you used to, resulting in a quick weight gain or weight loss.
- Trouble concentrating You can’t watch a TV program or read an article because other thoughts or feelings get in the way.
- Loss of energy – You feel tired all the time.
- Nervousness You always feel so anxious you can’t sit still.
- Guilt You feel you “never do anything right” and worry that you are a burden to others.
- Morning sadness You feel worse in the morning than you do the rest of the day.
- Suicidal thoughts You feel you want to die or are thinking about ways to hurt yourself. (Source: ADA)
If you find that you have several of the symptoms listed above you may benefit by having a heart to heart conversation with your health care provider.
A separate study conducted by Kaiser Permanente demonstrated that those with diabetes were likely to have been treated for depression within six months prior to a diabetes diagnosis.
Some believe depression is a prime trigger for onset diabetes, but what appears certain is depression and diabetes are companions that should be separated as quickly as possible. Help from a health care provider and psychologist may be an effective combined treatment option.