DIABETES AND MENTAL HEALTH
A wide variety of mental health issues associate with several medical conditions and one very
common condition is ‘DIABETES’. Such mental health issues include natural emotional
distress, sadness, anger and denial of the condition. These symptoms contribute to the
worsening of condition and may lead the person at higher risks of developing severe
psychological conditions like depression. Let’s have a look of the most common psychological
symptoms related to diabetes:
Stress: The medical professionals have begun to identify the influence of diabetes on one’s
mental health and wellbeing. A condition technically termed as “Diabetes Distress” is under
research for better understanding of the condition and its correlation with mental health.
Anger: The hormonal imbalances make the perfect condition of initiating, increasing and
exaggerating anger situations. Diabetes is often said to be the breeding ground of anger.
Denial: Most people with diabetes have this tendency when diagnosed first. The first voice
that comes from inside is “Not Me”! Inability to accept the condition is a hazard for treatment
and affects treatment outcomes badly.
Depression: Comparative studies have shown that diabetics are at higher risk of developing
depression as compared to non-diabetics. Diabetics could be preserved from depression if
above conditions are well treated.
Mental health professionals are actively involved in developing treatment models for such
conditions and trial studies have shown great impacts of these treatment modules. In most
cases, psycho-education and insight oriented approaches (to develop understanding of the
medical condition and its acceptance) work tremendously. Along with this, the “Life Style
Modification Program” gives impactful outcomes and have been found to be an effective
strategy to deal with psychological issues related to diabetes.
Diagnosed with Diabetes? Don’t worry! First of all you need to know that you are not alone.
There are so many people who belong to this condition and denial of problems always make
them worst. So, if denial is not going to resolve your problem how about accepting it. Yes!
Probably this is the first step toward healing your problems at your own end. The more you
own your problems, the more you heal them fast. Preparedness is very important for any kind
of treatment procedure and once you prepare yourself, half of the battle is already won. Take
a deep breath and follow the simple guidelines to improve your life style and your mental
health as well.
Be physically active: Make walking a regular habit, try out some simple dance steps, use stairs
rather than elevators, and engage in outdoor games to keep your body physically active.
Engage yourself in peaceful activities: Peaceful activities involve psychological acts
connecting you from your own self and detaching you from the environmental stress.
Relaxation procedures like deep breathing, imagery relaxation, muscle relaxation are some
of the simplest forms of relaxation that can benefit you. You could learn them by contacting
a mental health professional. You could also enjoy reading religious books of your interest.
Social engagement: Meet your friends more often, visit your family friends and relatives, make
weekly plans, schedule get together for relaxing times.
Avoid unnecessary stress: Never say yes to the tasks you cannot handle. Helping others is good
but not at the cost of your own health. Be assertive to state your opinions and softly deny
unwanted tasks and the stress as well.
Adapt to your stressors: Sometimes it is difficult to change situations as per our wish, so it is
better to accept the situation as it is. First, look at the possibilities of altering a situation, if
there is any possibility of that, see how much you will be able to contribute in this situation
and how much familial or social support is available for the same. If everything goes in
favour, there is no harm in trying. But, in case you already find that there is no possibility of
altering the situation, it is better to develop acceptance. This will not let you fall into the
Identify what makes you happy: There are certain things that make you happy in your daily
life such as reading particular books or magazines, meeting specific people, being with a
particular family members or friend, watching something on TV, going to a specific place,
eating specific food etc. Try to line up your day accordingly so that you enjoy at least one of
your favourite act every day.
Identify what makes you upset: Like some of the things make you happy, there is other group
of things making you upset. You just have to pick them and throw out of your routine life.
Watch out your eating habits: Healthy meal is very important for everyone, and it becomes
more important when there is an associated medical condition. Follow your doctor’s advice
strictly. Avoid junk food and meals increasing your sugar release. Eat healthy to enjoy a
healthy life. Also, never skip your meals, it always increases the problem. Try to fuel your
body after every two hours with small snacks so that it is all set to keep you energized.
Keep an eye on you sugar levels: Regularly check you sugar levels as directed by your doctor.
It will help you to correlate your routine activities with your health quotient. You will be able
to find out which activity schedule suits you most because your sugar levels are going to
This simple guideline for your daily routine will surely help you out. If you really want to
check whether it works or not, honestly follow this life style modification program for at least
four weeks and record your progress every day on the following progress chart:
Day/Date/Activities/Schedule Followed (yes/no)/sugar level (low/moderate/high)/Feeling (Express in your words)
This progress chart will enable you to see your own honest efforts and their outcomes.
Have a happy healing and all the best!
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
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