How Does Diabetes Affect Your Mental Health?

Diabetes notably increases the risk of suffering from depression and anxiety, among other problems.
How Does Diabetes Affect Your Mental Health?
Leonardo Biolatto

Written and verified by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Diabetes is an illness that is unfortunately becoming more and more common. It’s estimated that almost 422 million people in the world suffer from it. However, many people still don’t know the whole impact it has.

How does diabetes affect your mental health?

Keep reading to find out.

What is diabetes?

Basically, diabetes consists of your body not being able to produce or use insulin. Insulin is the “key” that allows glucose to enter cells since the cells need that nutrient to get energy.

The problem is that the glucose stays in your blood, and if its concentration stays high for a long time, it causes damage to the tissues. Therefore, it’s very important to keep control of your glucose levels and follow a proper treatment for this condition.

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t use it to let glucose into the cells. There are different types of diabetes, but the most common ones are type 1 and type 2.

Diabetes type 1 normally occurs in childhood and it’s caused by the pancreas being unable to secrete insulin. For this reason, the treatment is normally to inject this hormone to control glucose levels.

Type 2 is the most frequent in adulthood and happens when you can’t use the insulin that is produced. This is the type that affects the largest number of people since it’s closely related to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Both types can happen at any age and to any person, although it’s true that there is an important genetic influence. The big problem with diabetes is the number of complications that can appear over time since it increases your risk of getting many other diseases.

Instruments for diabetes care next to a bowl of fruits and vegetables.

You might be interested in: How to Improve Your Diet if You Suffer from Diabetes

How does diabetes affect your mental health?

Diabetes affects many aspects of the life of people who suffer from it, mainly because it’s such a big responsibility. The treatment requires control, not only of medication but also of diet and exercise habits.

Because of this, it’s very common for this illness to cause elevated levels of stress. This stress makes your body release cortisol, a hormone that also influences the metabolizing of glucose. At the end of the day, everything is closely related.

People with diabetes have to avoid certain behaviors or actions. For example, you shouldn’t drink alcohol, or eat what you want without proper control if you have diabetes. This can increase anxiety, for example.

Additionally, it’s a condition that is, in a way, unpredictable. Sometimes, despite the effort you make to follow all the rules, you might not get the expected results. This can cause your level of frustration to notably increase.

A little girl with diabetes getting her blood glucose level checked.

You might like to read: How to Raise a Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Unfortunately, diabetes is linked to mental health. It’s estimated that the risk of suffering from depression is three times higher in a person with this disease. Likewise, generalized anxiety disorder is very common in patients with diabetes.

For all of these reasons, it’s very important to understand that this disease imposes many conditions on your life, not just on a physical level. Doctors recommend that people diagnosed with diabetes see some type of therapist to help develop healthy coping mechanisms.

You should remember that the body and mind constantly influence each other.  Any mental problem can negatively influence the course of another disease, like diabetes. Therefore, it’s important to take care of both your mental and physical health.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.