Most people, at some time in their life have felt down in the mouth, that’s normal. But many people feel an indescribable sadness that just won’t let up. Feeling like this constantly, for a period of two weeks or more, could mean that you are suffering from clinical depression.
Although many people with diabetes generally don’t have depression, research shows that people with diabetes are more likely to suffer depression than people who don’t have it. There appears to be no clear reason why this should be so, but, it makes perfect sense to me.
Being told that you have a serious chronic illness is bound to have a profound affect on your mind – as well as your body. The human mind can react adversely to what we perceive as traumatic or stressful events. People affected in this way will have a low mood, feel anxious, be irritable, even angry – the health professionals call this ‘reactive depression’.
Managing diabetes can be stressful and that stress can build. You feel isolated, alone and set apart from all those none diabetes sufferers. More especially, you can feel disconnected from your family and friends who are trying their utmost to help – but don’t necessarily understand exactly how you are feeling.
Left unchecked, depression can lead you into a vicious cycle and can interfere with your ability to give yourself the care and attention that your condition needs. With depression comes a lack of energy; in this state you will find important tasks – such as testing your blood sugar regularly – too much hassle.
When you feel terribly anxious, it affects how you think, and in this state it will be difficult to maintain a good diet. When feeling like this, it is not uncommon to feel like not eating at all. And, of course, this will have a detrimental effect on your blood glucose levels.
Diagnosis of diabetes is such a big issue in someone’s life, so it is easy to see how a sufferer would react badly and suffer depression. But, some experts would say that depression works both ways: diabetes may cause depression and depression can cause diabetes – a kind of chicken or egg situation.
Authors of a report by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have said that there is growing evidence that: “…depression and diabetes are closely related to each other … .And, ” … depression may result from the biochemical changes directly caused by diabetes or its treatment …”; as well as from psychological issues associated derived from coping with chronic illness. Although this study refers to the bidirectional association between depression and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in women, can we infer that the research could be valid for men too?
Assuming that we can make this inference, we still have to consider that the report is far from conclusive and ends by saying that further research needs to be carried out: “in different populations and to investigate the potential mechanisms underlying this association”.
So it would seem, at the risk of over-simplifying the situation: although there is more work to be done in this area there is a strong suggestion that if you suffer depression you could get diabetes, and, if you have diabetes you may well also end up suffering with depression.