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Dealing With Diabetes and Depression: You Are Not Alone

24 Oct

There are so many topics about diabetes that can be covered, I could stay on this topic and never have to write about anything else. I am going to cover two more topics (depression and readiness to change) that are extremely important to good health and diabetes and then move on to other topics. However, I will continue to weave diabetes into my blog and answer any comments or questions you may have.

Being diagnosed with diabetes, any medical illness or emotionally traumatizing event should automatically trigger the waving of a yellow “support” flag. All too often we are diagnosed with a physical illness such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer and we rush to treat the physical problem. We forget about the emotional and psychological component of being, or having a loved one, diagnosed with a life altering condition. Everyone at some time in their life experiences depression and if you are diagnosed with a medical condition or you experience horrific situations as a soldier or you are a victim of crime or an accident, you are likely to experience some form of depression. Even new moms are prone to postpartum depression. Heck just getting older is enough to start thinking the worst. No matter what the reason. Please know you are not alone.

Over the course of one year, approximately 19 million adults will experience depression. Twenty-five to fifty percent of people who are diagnosed with a chronic illness are also likely to suffer from depression, http://www.cmha.bc.ca/resources/bc_resources/depconcurrent/.
Here are some of the stats for those who are diagnosed with a medical condition and who suffer with depression:

Postpartum depression: 10-20%
Cancer: 42%
Heart disease: 18-26%
Diabetes: 33%
Multiple sclerosis: 6-60%
Parkinson’s disease: 40%
Stroke: 30-50%
Substance abuse: 50%

Your mind is critical to overcoming diabetes (or any illness) and the health conditions associated with it. Accepting and becoming actively involved in caring for diabetes is the most important part of treating high blood sugar. Denial is easy, especially with diabetes because you can walk around and function as if you did not have any illness at all, well that’s until diabetes catches up with you. No one knows that you feel tired, your vision is blurry, or your thirst is unquenchable. In fact many people can perform daily tasks and walk around with high blood sugar levels without realizing they have diabetes.

However, when you throw a monkey wrench into the mix, namely depression, your ability to care for yourself is diminished despite the need for consistent self-care. Here’s a quick resource to help identify depression and get appropriate help, http://www.diabetes.org/type-2-diabetes/depression.jsp, http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/17/3/167.full. If you follow this link, http://www.cmha.bc.ca/resources/bc_resources/depconcurrent/, see “Depression and Diabetes”. You’ll see the relationship between diabetes and depression and how debilitating the two co-existing conditions can be. They describe diabetes and depression as, “A vicious cycle that makes both your diabetic and depressive conditions worse. Knowing about this cycle is half the battle: depression => lack of motivation => poor management of diabetes => high blood sugar levels => greater fatigue and lethargy => worsened mood => further depression.”

Understand the signs and symptoms of depression, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-and-depression/AN02011, http://diabetes.about.com/od/preventingcomplications/qt/depression.htm, and work with a mental health professional to get you on track and help develop strategies for dealing with depression and its impact on your day-to-day life, http://www.helpguide.org/mental/treatment_strategies_depression.htm.

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