Diabetes and Depression

I was reading about a connection that has been established between diabetes and depression, indicating that “people with a high number of symptoms of depression were about 60 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes…”

My question is what is your guys’ experience with the opposite? Experiencing symptoms of depression as a diabetic. I can say I’ve felt it.

Links Added by the TuDiabetes Admin Team

Depression and Regret

How to Handle Long Term Depression

I feel depressed a lot becuase of Diabetes so I too have felt it. Well, not so much about Diabetes but all the crap that comes along with it. That is what is most depressing to me. All of the things my doctor says “It’s common with diabetics” about.

I hear you, George! I will never forget what my first endo told me: you will always have to work for a big company, because diabetics cannot get individual insurance… :S

I suffer from diabetes type III ;). My husband (Manny H) has diabetes type I.

I believe there is a lot of pressure associated with keeping your sugar under control. I mean, you know it has to be under control, so if it isn’t, and you have done your part, (even if you haven’t) it is very easy to feel frustrated and helpless. I believe the most important thing to keep in mind is that all of this is ok, and that the best thigh to do is to ask for help… ans of course, do some exercise. :wink:

This is a popular topic among researchers, yet they never seem to find any solutions to the issue. For example, in April, we learned that chronic depression or depression that worsens over time may actually cause diabetes to occur in older adults, according to new Northwestern University research.

But I found it even more interesting that a more recent study found that treating the depression did not result in improved glycemic control. Doctors had long assumed that the depression was a big reason for poor glycemic control, but the latest study showed that was not the case. As Andreina noted, I suspect they need to examine exactly what is involved in trying to manage a chronic condition 24/7/365. They might find that the treatment itself is the cause of the depression, not the disease!

Glycemic control not improved by depression treatment
Last Updated: 2007-04-26 10:03:01 -0400 (Reuters Health)
By Will Boggs, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Improvements in depressive symptoms are not associated with improvements in glycemic control in diabetic patients, according to a report in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

“While clinical depression should be treated in all patients, treating depressed mood (non-clinical depression) in patients with type 2 diabetes as a strategy to improve glycemic control is not effective,” Dr. Richard S. Surwit from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina told Reuters Health.

Dr. Surwit and associates investigated whether changes in affective symptoms after cognitive behavior therapy would differentially affect glycemic control in 28 patients with type 1 diabetes and 62 with type 2 diabetes. Twenty-one type 1 diabetes patients and 44 type 2 patients completed the 12-month follow-up period.

Overall, changes in depression symptoms, as measured by Beck Depression Index (BDI), did not affect HbA1c level or fasting blood glucose concentration, the authors report.

Similarly, although post-treatment Hamilton Depression Scale values improved for all patients, these improvements were not matched by improvements in HbA1c or fasting blood glucose.

Even among the subgroup of 17 patients with clinical depression, the researchers note, there was no evidence of an improvement in HbA1c level as depression improved.

“The working hypothesis of the present study was that improving depression through cognitive behavior therapy would differentially impact patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Surwit said. “Therefore, the finding that significantly improving BDI with cognitive behavior therapy failed to impact HbA1C in either type 1 or type 2 patients was somewhat of a surprise.”

“We are currently investigating the relationship between depression and the onset of diabetes in a large longitudinal sample of Viet Nam veterans,” Dr. Surwit added. His team is also “studying the effects of hostility, a personality construct with some overlap with depression, on glycemic control in various non-diabetic populations.”

Psychosom Med 2007;69:235-241.

URL for this article:

I think you’re on to something here. My endo tells me he sees an unusually high number of cases of depression among his diabetic patients compared to his other patients.

Thought this was an interesting article, in case you guys want to share your own stories:

I’ve been depressed off and on (more on than off) most of my life. I’m also comfort eater and have been overweight since puberty. Is there a correlation? There could very well be, however, I don’t think I’ll ever know. I’m the only one in my family* with diabetes so there doesn’t appear to be a genetic link.

As for diabetes and depression in general, depression does seem to go hand in hand with chronic illness. And who can blame us?

*I think my paternal grandmother may have had it but I have no way of finding out. My oldest brother is concerned because of a recent blood test that indicated his sugar levels are high (I don’t know the details). He had been over 300 lbs but has since lost about 75 of them (I don’t know if he’s been tested since the weight loss). Yay Bro!

I have been Type 1 for 40 years and never really thought about being depressed until I aimed for tighter control and tried different forms of insulin from what I had used for 35 years. I had a lot of issues and a hard time moving into MDI and then finally the pump and understanding how carbs effected my bgs control, as I was clueless for most of my diabetic life. My internist explained to me how a chronic illness could cause depression and anxiety and I so did not believe her. She put me on Effexor and wow things are so much easier to deal with being on this medication.

I know I have days when I think OK I am done with this. Not going to be diabetic anymore. But hey that doesn’t work. My husband thinks that I should not have this problem. I am suppose to just buck up and move forward. Haw!!! I do get tired of it at times. The rest of the time I just move on. Sometimes I just want someone to say it is going to be alright!! As for insurance I have none and can’t get any.

Depression kicks my ■■■ on a regular basis.

I had to get messed up pretty bad before I was ready to seek help (therapy & meds). Once I had been diagnosed, I was angry to learn about the links between diabetes and depression.

It makes a bit of sense, I guess. I don’t wish the things we deal with on my worst enemy. So I can see how we sometimes get crushed under the big boulder of pressures and depression.

But I was angry that it is not more widely known. To think I could have been “on guard”, watching for the start of things, ready to seek help BEFORE I hit the bottom.

Things would have been easier for me to deal with if I had started scraping at the layers of mental “stuff” when not in a “■■■■ it” state.

It comes and goes in cycles now, a downward spiral that affects my resilience and ability to make good decisions.

I have regular therapy sessions and I take Lexapro daily, and it takes the edge off, but I still fight with it. I think we all do, or will, to some degree. We need to be better informed and have resources ready to help us with it.

Good discussion.

I’m a T1 and nothing to do with this study, but still, depression is often hiding within me. It wants to come out, but I’m fighting it. It’s an ongoing battle and I suspect I’ll be battling it for life, but so far I keep winning… or at least leaning towards the right side of that tight rope!

I have two things that keep me on top. ONE is my son - he needs me. He also needs a good example - depression is in the genes and I want him to know how to cope. TWO: during a really bad time many years ago, I tried counselling and medication… big failure.

The counsellor was bad, just bad at her job. She kept wanting to send my ex & I to couples therapy but paid NO attention to what I wanted to talk about. She actually ‘fired’ me after 2/3 meetings saying that I was OK and didn’t need her! The ex and I were well & truly broken up at that stage and did NOT need therapy (let alone any time in the same room together lol). And she was right, I didn’t need her, but I may have needed someone who knew what they were doing!

The meds turned me into a robot - I didn’t feel like I was making decisions properly, I was going about my life without really thinking - just doing. It was nice to have the break from over-thinking, but after a few weeks it scared me. It also made me gain weight - serious weight gain: 20kg (44 pounds) in about 4 months. That’s over a kilo (2.2lbs) a week!

I took myself off the pills and swore to fight it on my own. So far, so good, and I hope I can keep this up… it took me YEARS to take off the weight that went on so fast! In fact, it didn’t really come off until my body started starving itself because of the mis-diagnosed Diabetes!

These days I concentrate on the positive aspects of everything I possibly can (when I can…). I eat better and try to sleep better (but I suck at sleeping). I make sure I get outside for fresh air and get some exercise (omg does exercise help or what? Wow!) and I generally just acknowledge depression and work against it.

Hey you lot - when you’re feeling down, come on over to New Zealand and I’ll take you for a nice long walk along the beach with a stop for coffee & cake of course - can’t be good all the time :wink: I reckon the beach air is superb for clearing the head & improving the mood :slight_smile:

I felt more depressed, slow and sluggish before my diagnosis, when I had high blood sugar all the time. Naturally finding out I had T1 was not good news, but at least I knew what the problem was - why I felt so mentally foggy and irritable, why I was thirsty all the time and generally feeling like crap. It was tempting to just sit around and feel sorry for myself – after all, I’d been diagnosed with a serious, chronic, disease. But I found some people on another diabetes message board who’d had diabetes for a long time and had found ways to control it well. Using tips I learned from them, my endocrinologist and a few books I read, I got my blood sugars under control and felt so much better, mentally and physically. It was like night and day. When my blood sugars were brought down, I had more energy and felt “lighter.”

I rarely feel depressed about diabetes. I rationalize that if it was “my turn” to get a disease, it was much better that I got diabetes than, say, cancer or leukemia. I can control my diabetes, even if I can’t cure it. There are a lot of diseases that are much worse; there are a lot of people living with much more debilitating health problems. So I try to focus on the positive and be grateful for my relatively good health, apart from the diabetes.

Hi neighbor.
You know i’ve talked about TlDM on my dad’s side of the family. On my mom’s side, clinical depression abounds - guess I got the unfavorable roll of both pairs of dice.
But you deal with it and move on. I am thankful for the new SSRI family of drugs (I take Celexa) and the fact that my HMO will pay for many hours of therapy. It has been helpful to me to go to therapy with the idea that there are no “quick fixes”, but with persistance, progress can be made.
…btw - hot enough for ya?

Good topic to discuss! For years, I have experienced bouts of depression. It wasn’t until college that I began seeing a Christian counselor and started taking Zoloft. I took it for 2 years and it helped tremendously! It wasn’t until I began my job at the pharmaceutical company and had the chance to attend a diabetes conference at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston that I realized that there are many ongoing studies on the relationship between diabetes and depression. Most of the studies were done on adult patients with Type 2, but one study stood out in my mind. Unfortunately I don’t have the name of the study or who published it, but the study showed that the more hypoglycemic episodes a diabetic child has early on, the more chance they have at becoming depressed. It had something to do with the platelets in your head shifting while having a diabetic seizure, etc. It made sense to me! I had many diabetic seizures growing up and think that has something to do with it. That and the combination of worrying about complications, life expectancy, etc. A year ago I was diagnosed with panic disorder. I NEVER had a problem with this before! But all of the sudden, I began panicking while driving, while eating in a noisy crowded restaurant, everywhere! I had trouble breathing and focusing. My eyes would jump. It was the most awful feeling. I thought I was dying, or having transient ischemic attacks or strokes. My endo said this happens a lot to people that have chronic illness and it could come and go at any age or time. The weirdest thing is that I am the most outgoing, social butterfly and would never think this would have happened to me. Lexapro kicked all this in the butt and I am feeling great!

Yes, as the mom of a D toddler, I have been completely overwhelmed by the stress caused by trying to manage this disease.

I don’t think it only happens to Type 2’s. I’ve been dealing with that for about 15 years. When my mom died 3 years ago it really got bad. It got bad enough for ME to notice it so the Dr put me on Prozac and told me to start socilizing more. I had got to where all I done was sit on the couch, yell at anyone who even thought about helping me, and crying all the time. Now I’ve worked my way down to Paxil and hope everything keeps holding together. I got to where I thought the world would be better off without me and all I had were negative thoughts. Thank God I don’t feel that way now because it really drove my family crazy. You really don’t need to feel that way with 2 teen girls who YOU are suppost to be the role modle for.


There’s a REALLY ugly truth hidden here that the drug companies keep obscure.

The drugs used to treat depression can increase insulin resistance, and some of the stronger psychiatric drugs will CAUSE permanent diabetes in a perfectly normal person.

Powerful medications for depression that were supposed to be used for people with severe clinical presentations are now being prescribed much too widely by family doctors who are not trained in psychiatry and don’t understand the appropriate use for these drugs. I have seen most of my daughter’s friends put on these pills when they broke up with their first serious boyfriend, an event that normally causes sadness, but is not Clinical Depresssion.

It can be extremely tough to get off these drugs as they share most of the qualities of other addictive drugs but the drug companies have also misrepresented this and continue to claim they aren’t addictive though you can’t just stop them without very difficult symptoms.

Susan, I was exactly the same before my diagnosis. I felt irritable, tired and unhappy all the time. I had thought it was my thyroid but that was adjusted correctly so my doctor did more tests and I had an A1C of 7.2. My endo told me there was nothing wrong with me because my fasting and 2 hour numbers were so low but I pushed to get tested and I am Type 1. In a way it was a relief because now I could do something. I feel like a different person when I keep my blood sugar in a very narrow range and most of the time I feel optimistic. People say they could never cut out carbs or be as careful with diet as I am, but it is simple for me. If I’m in control, I have tons of energy, need less sleep and feel great. If I eat stuff that’s bad for me, I feel absolutely horrible. One place I sometimes feel depressed is at the grocery store, when I look at all the foods I can’t have. But when I start to feel sorry for myself and say “why me?” I remember that I have a colleague who is battling late-stage ovarian cancer and count my blessings that I have a disease that is manageable.

Highly recommended for anyone dealing with disease and thought of their disease, which leads to depression on many occasions.

John Sarno’s The Divided Mind

As one reviewer on Amazon puts it:
“Modern medicine is wasting billions of dollars and prolonging the suffering of innocent people in blind, ignorant materialism. Medicine fails tragically in so much of its diagnosis and treatment by being enthralled with the laboratory and treating the patient as an organism or thing, ignoring the person, and the source of the pain.”

Remember, today we aren’t treating the person, only the symptoms. Anyone taking any prescription drugs is doing heavy damage to their liver, further enhancing the creation of complications and rooting disease deeper into the body. This goes for any manufactured chemical you are putting into your body. If you are not cleaning the metabolic waste from your body and taking extra steps to rid yourself of built up toxins from the drugs, you can forget about being free of disease.