Friday, April 12, 2024

How Does Diabetes Affect You Emotionally

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Coping With Being Diagnosed

How diabetes affects your emotions | “You’re Not Alone” a short documentary | Diabetes UK

Being diagnosed with diabetes can come as a shock. First reactions may be disbelief, feeling overwhelmed, even anger. Usually these feelings ease after a while and diabetes becomes part of life. But sometimes these feelings dont go away easily. If you feel this way, you’re not alone.

There are lots of people out there to support you your family, your friends, your healthcare professional team, and we’re here for you too. We can help you get to grips with diabetes and help you find other people going through the same things as you. Take a look at our guide to being diagnosed to help you start adjusting to life with diabetes.

The Grief Of Diagnosis

When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may notice that you start to experience a grieving process. Many people experience the same emotions associated with the loss of a loved one. When you consider the diagnosis of diabetes, it changes your life, you have lost something and youve lost your normal carefree life that you had before.

These common emotions are explained in more detail below as well as various the ways you can learn to control these emotions or even overcome them.

Can Type 2 Diabetes Make You Feel Unwell

Diabetes may increase a persons risk of feeling nauseated because diabetes-related complications, such as hyperglycemia, can cause nausea. People can take the following steps to help prevent or reduce their risk of developing complications that can lead to nausea: taking medication exactly as a doctor has prescribed.

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Things You Cant Control

Focusing your mind on things out of your control won’t change things. This can lead to worry, so gently try to redirect your attention.

You might be feeling nervous, because your condition may make you more vulnerable to becoming unwell if you catch coronavirus. Or you might be worrying about who around you could catch the virus. But you dont have control over these things, so try to be supportive and understanding for the people who do get coronavirus. And remember that it is not your fault if you catch the virus too. Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

If you need to self-isolate or have been told to shield, you may have to miss work, school or appointments. This is okay and the best thing to do to look after yourself and others.

You might also be worrying about some diabetes appointments being cancelled or finding it difficult to get hold of your healthcare team. There might be alternative options, like phone or video appointments, so look into these. Most appointments aren’t urgent, but if your diabetes team really need to see you they will get in touch with an appointment. Its important that you try to go to these.

Not being able to get what you want from the shops can be stressful. You can’t control the availability of supplies. Try to be patient and try not to panic buy. If you are having difficulty getting food supplies, we are doing our best to support you. Find out what we’re doing.

Psychological Reaction In Patients With Diabetes

How Diabetes Affects Mental Health

The patient’s perception about the seriousness of diabetes will affect the way they cope with the disease. Several psychological factors as discussed earlier contribute to affect the emotional and psychological well-being of a person with diabetes. These include degree to which an individual accepts his/her diagnosis, how the individual adjusts to the demands of self-care routine, and finally how he/she copes with progression of the condition, which potentially includes the development of diabetes-related complications. However, considering that living with diabetes is a lifelong stress and requires dealing with psychological issues, the psychological reactions of patients towards diabetes can be categorized under four basic levels of emotional distress. The psychological factors and reactions with negative outcomes in patients with diabetes have been summarized in Figure 1.

Psychological factors and reactions with negative outcomes in patients with diabetes

Emotional reactions at the time of diagnosis

Beeney et al. found that patients were distressed at the time of diagnosis with emotions ranging from anxiety, shock, anger, or denial. Similar results were observed in other studies.






Diabetes distress


  • Feel overwhelmed with the demands of self-management
  • Feel frustrated, fatigue, anger, burn out, and poor mood
  • Difficult to keep up with complicated routine
  • Make it difficult for self-management the control of blood sugar.
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    Diabetes And Mental Health

    A diabetes diagnosis can be a life altering event. Whether it be type 1 diabetes where the body does not make any insulin at all or type 2 diabetes when the pancreas makes some insulin but not enough, it can mean changes to your lifestyle that you may not be ready for and can also be hard on relationships with friends or family. As you establish a new routine it is important to establish good habits in managing your mental health. Proper diabetes management requires awareness of your symptoms. Just as you take insulin to ensure your blood glucose levels are where they should be, its important to take measures to prevent mental health crises by being aware of how you are feeling mentally and emotionally.

    Just like taking care of your body, taking care of your mind is equally as important to living a healthy life. When left untreated, mental health conditions like depression and anxiety can make diabetes worse. Likewise, existing diabetes can make mental health conditions worse.

    Diabetes Affects Your Emotions Both Directly And Indirectly

    Poorly controlled blood sugar can directly affect your emotions by causing behaviour changes and mood swings. When you get diagnosed with any chronic disease like diabetes, you will also most likely experience a wide range of emotions from denial and anger to stress, grief, and sadness.

    You might feel overwhelmed with the burden of the condition and the need to continuously manage it. This is called Diabetes Distress and it is completely normal to feel this way.

    It is also very important to cope with such emotions before they lead to depression and other conditions that can affect your mental health and well-being, and eventually your ability and motivation to self-manage your condition and monitor and control your blood glucose levels.

    The good news is that there are many ways you can address and deal with the emotional side of diabetes, from simple techniques you can do at home, to making simple lifestyle changes, to seeking help from your healthcare provider if these emotions get in the way of properly managing your illness.

    Our physicians at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre can help you problem-solve your concerns about diabetes or suggest the proper professional help you may need to manage your emotions.

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    Ei Training And Diabetes

    Three studies found a link between EI training and quality of life, well-being, anxiety, and HbA1c in samples of adults with Type 2 diabetes . Tavakol et al. showed that the application of a self-care EI program improved the HbA1c levels of the participants, while Yalcin et al. showed that EI training improved quality of life and well-being in persons with diabetes and that these improvements persisted over time. Finally, Karahan and Yalcin evaluated the effect of EI training on the emotional burnout, anxiety, and HbA1c levels of persons with diabetes. The authors found that the program positively affected all these parameters compared to a control group of people with diabetes.

    Table 3. Studies analyzing EI training in people with diabetes.

    Taken together, these studies showed the positive effect of EI training in improving biological and psychological factors in people with Type 2 diabetes.

    Mental Health: Living With Type 1

    Coping with the emotional impact of diabetes I John’s story I Diabetes UK

    People with type 1 diabetes are at a heightened risk for mental health issues, including diabetes distress, depression, anxiety, and disordered eating. However, these are all treatable disorders. It is important to pay attention to your feelings about having diabetes or taking care of someone who has diabetes. Talk to your physician, or yourdiabetes educator, or anyone you feel comfortable with on your diabetes care team. They can help you connect to mental health care, whether it is with a counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist, or a social worker. Having support to live with diabetes is essential. Sometimes talking to a friend with diabetes can also be helpful.

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    Coping With A Diagnosis

    A new diagnosis for diabetes, like any unexpected medical diagnosis, can be difficult to accept. It can add a big emotional weight. Some doctors see their patients go through a grieving period as they struggle to reconcile diabetes with their lifestyle.

    Diabetics must learn a new routine of treatment and monitoring that takes some adjustment.

    The transition to 24/7 life with diabetes can be stressful and affect your mood. If you feel extreme mood swings, consult with your doctor right away.

    How Can I Reduce Stress In My Life

    There are many things you can do to reduce stress. The following are some suggestions:

    • Take your medications as directed and eat healthy meals.
    • Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
    • Get some exercise. You can reduce stress though activities such as dancing, walking, or biking. Do something that you enjoy.
    • Remember to keep your sense of humor. Laughing helps to reduce stress.
    • Join a support group. You can meet people with problems similar to yours and make new friends.
    • Seek out professional help in order to talk about what’s troubling you.

    There are additional strategies that you can use to help reduce stress in your life. Talk to your diabetes educator or doctor for more ideas.

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    How Mental Health Affects Diabetes Management

    “The stigma associated with having a chronic condition such as diabetes can make these feelings worse,” explains Gilani. “Psychological distress can then lead individuals to disengage with their diabetes management plan, leading to a vicious cycle where the diabetes is poorly managed and makes the psychological suffering worse.”

    Hornby has never been offered any emotional support for her diabetes. “Maybe if there was something offered, it would get me through the rough stuff,” she states. “I’d like a healthcare professional to ask specifically: ‘How is your diabetes affecting you emotionally? Would you like to talk with someone about it?’ I’ve never had that.”

    The report found three quarters of those needing specialist mental health support from a counsellor or psychologist to help manage their condition could not access it, and seven out of ten people with the condition said their diabetes teams did not encourage them to talk about their emotional well-being.

    Similarly, 40% of GPs surveyed said they are not likely to ask about emotional well-being and mental health in routine diabetes appointments, while only 30% believe there is enough psychological and emotional support for people living with diabetes when they need it.

    Can Diabetes Cause Anger Issues

    How Does Emotional Stress Affect Blood Glucose Levels

    Whats sometimes called diabetic rage can be dangerous, because it may involve behaviors a person isnt consciously aware of. Physiologically, when someones blood sugar fluctuates, spikes, or drops, it can produce feelings of anger, anxiety, or depression that are out of the control of the person experiencing them.

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    Common Emotions Of Diabetes

    Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires diligent almost 24/7 management. Sometimes this type of schedule can seem like a burden. When this happens, other common emotions or conditions may manifest, causing even more difficulty in managing your blood sugar levels.


    Stress is one of the most common emotions associated with having type 2 diabetes. Just the constant daily regimen of testing, ensuring youre taking your medications and monitoring your food intake, may seem like a full time job in itself. Add to this routine, a career, a family, and other typical life activities, and stress is almost inevitable. The problem with stress, in addition to the emotional weight it places on you, is that it can also affect your blood sugar levels as well. Stress is known to cause a rise and also a fluctuation in blood sugar levels which can make it more difficult to stay within your target range.

    What Can You Do?

    While you cannot get rid of stress completely, you can effectively learn how to manage it so that it doesnt cause even more damage to your diabetes management efforts. If your stress seems to be surrounding the challenge of diabetes management, there are a few things you can do to help reduce this stress.

    • Establish Clear Goals


    What Can You Do?

    Conditions such as:

    Working to get to the root cause can help you to feel like yourself again.


    What Can You Do?


    What Can You Do?

    When Anger Becomes Abuse

    Every person has a right to get angry sometimes. But it isn’t normal for someone with diabetes to erupt into anger and take it out on others.

    If anger is expressed violently to hurt or scare you, then it becomes domestic abuse. Abuse can be actual physical contact, like hitting, slapping, pushing, or otherwise inflicting bodily harm. It can also be threatening or belittling you or making you feel intimidated or scared.

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    Where To Get Support

    Gilani suggests those with diabetes can improve their mental health by seeking professional help.

    “Speak with your GP about not only your physiological symptoms but also your emotional well-being. They will be able to offer appropriate support, recommending lifestyle changes and prescribing medication if needed.”

    “For people newly diagnosed with diabetes, referral to an education programme can help them feel more empowered to manage the condition and to gain peer support from others with the condition.”

    There is an increasing number of diabetes teams throughout the UK who are recognising the need for psychologists and counsellors to specifically help patients with diabetes who have mental health concerns, says Gilani. A good support network is also key to managing diabetes. Sharing concerns about the condition will help those with diabetes feel less isolated and overwhelmed by the symptoms they are experiencing. Exercising regularly has also been shown to improve mood, reduce glucose levels and maintain a healthy weight, which can help alleviate the feeling of diabetes distress.

    Question: How Does Type 2 Diabetes Affect Your Emotional Health

    Diabetes and emotional wellbeing | Zena’s story | Diabetes UK

    The fear of blood sugar fluctuations can be very stressful. Changes in blood sugar can cause rapid changes in mood and other mental symptoms such as fatigue, trouble thinking clearly, and anxiety. Having diabetes can cause a condition called diabetes distress which shares some traits of stress, depression and anxiety.

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    Can A Child With Type 1 Diabetes Live A Normal Life

    Kids with type-1 diabetes should be allowed to live a normal life, says Chiang. That includes parties, sleepovers, trick or treating, school trips, and sports, she says. Special attention should be given to days when your child is sick, as blood sugar levels may change more dramatically.

    Do diabetics get angry easily?

    Among diabetic, higher blood glucose, or hyperglycemia, has historically been associated with anger or sadness, while blood sugar dips, or hypoglycemia, has been associated with nervousness. Persons with diabetes are not the only ones vulnerable to mood disturbances as a result of blood sugar fluctuations.

    How can I help my diabetic parent?

    Here are some of the more common methods of managing diabetes:

  • Lowering Carbohydrates. Diabetes patients can help manage their blood sugar levels by consuming a diet low in carbohydrates.
  • Coordinating Meals and Medication.
  • Does Emotion Affect Blood Glucose

    Yes, emotions can affect your blood sugar. Anxiety, fear, even that happy feeling you had when you got that new job can be stressful sometimes. When were stressed whether its physical stress or mental stress our bodies produce hormones such as cortisol that can raise blood glucose even if we havent eaten. These hormones are known as the fight or flight hormones.

    Modern day stresses can be anything from starting a new job to fighting an illness to getting ready for that big birthday party. These hormones release our bodys emergency stores of sugar into the bloodstream for use as energy. Sometimes the influx of sugar is too much for the body to use when someone has diabetes and it can cause blood sugars to rise too high.

    There are some healthy ways to deal with stress so that the fight or flight response isnt activated. These can include taking a walk, listening to music, talking with a good friend, meditation or prayer.

    So, dont stress about stress! Find healthy ways to deal with it and youll keep those blood sugars in check.

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    When Your Partner Experiences Mood Swings

    It’s not your responsibility to make sure your partner consistently eats well. However, knowing the crucial role diet plays in managing mood for people with diabetes may help you understand their condition better. Don’t underestimate the importance of their diet and regular mealtimes.

    If your partner struggles with managing moods as a result of fluctuating blood sugar, talk to them about it. Have a plan in place for emergencies, such as calling 911 at the first sign of a mood swing or outburst. Your partner should be willing to create an emergency plan to keep you and others safe.

    If you’re in a relationship that’s abusive, it’s important to tell someone you trust: a friend, counselor, social worker, or healthcare provider. Abusive relationships are often isolated ones, where the abused partner lives in secrecy and fear. Telling others breaks the silence and enables you to more easily seek help.

    ‘a Bolt From The Blue’

    How Much Does Stress Affect Blood Sugar

    Managing the physical symptoms of diabetes can be all-consuming, and can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including their emotional and mental health. This could range from day-to-day frustration and low mood to depression and anxiety, to living in fear of their blood sugar dropping too low and experiencing a hypo.

    Nicki Hornby, 50, has had type 2 diabetes for 14 years. “It was very much a bolt from the blue. Anger and shock have been prominent, but I get very low mood too, especially when I’ve had a hypo. I often feel, why me? I’ve done everything right. I’ve led a healthy life.”

    “The enormity of what I’m dealing with can feel overwhelming, and it’s very hard to stop the negativity creeping in. It has often driven me to tears, and feelings of frustration have led to much darker thoughts,” explains the teaching assistant.

    Dr Farah Gilani, a Medicspot GP describes this as ‘diabetes distress’. This is a condition where people with diabetes experience emotional distress, with negative thoughts and feelings. It is not the same as depression or anxiety but can lead to these if unrecognised.”

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