Diabetes and Mental Wellbeing
Diabetes is a chronic condition which at times may be difficult to manage and live with. This can lead people to feel distressed, frustrated guilty, sad or worried.
If you need to access further support, you can also contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Mental Health Emergency Response Line 1300 555 788. If you would prefer to contact support online then you can contact either Lifeline or Beyond Blue.
The burden of living with diabetes can cause added emotional stress, often due to the additional demands to self-managing your condition. At times this may cause you to feel overwhelmed or that you are ‘failing’ in your diabetes management. It can also be frustrating when your blood glucose levels fluctuate from one day to the next and lead to feelings of guilt when you may go off track.
If you think that you are experiencing diabetes distress it is important to talk with your GP or health professional. Diabetes distress can have an impact your daily life such as work, school, relationships and diabetes management and if not managed and this may lead to ‘burnout’. Burnout may cause you to give up on taking care of yourself due to feeling emotionally exhausted. Your healthcare professional will be able to discuss and assess how you are feeling and work with you to come up with strategies to manage your diabetes distress.
Diabetes and depression
Depression is a mental health condition which can affect how you feel about yourself and can have a significant flow on effect on how you engage in relationships, participate in social activities and complete daily tasks. Low mood, little enjoyment or interest in doing things, low energy levels, changes to sleeping patterns or appetite, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm are some of the symptoms of depression. Living with depression can also make it harder for a person to manage their diabetes due to low motivation. This may be mean that someone with depression may check their blood glucose levels less often or miss medical appointments. It is important to seek help from your GP or health professional if you think you have depression. They will be able to identify if you are experiencing depression, offer treatment, organize a mental health care plan and refer you to a psychologist if needed.
Diabetes and anxiety
Anxiety is when an individual experiences fear or stress or has a feeling that something bad is going to happen. Anxiety is a normal, healthy response to a stressful situation however it becomes an issue when the feelings last for a significant period or impact on your daily life. People with diabetes may experience anxiety related to their diabetes. For example, fear of hypoglycaemia may lead to someone checking their blood glucose levels continuously. Others may avoid injecting or monitoring in public as they worry how others may perceive them. In addition, some symptoms of anxiety are similar to signs of hypoglycaemia, for example trembling, sweaty or a fast heart rate. In such instances it can be beneficial to monitor your BGL to help see if you are having a hypoglycaemic event or whether your symptoms are related to anxiety. Even if your anxiety is not related to your diabetes, it can still have an impact on your health, life and relationships so it is important to discuss with your health care professional.