Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Could You Be Depressed?


What it means for people with diabetes when it’s more than just the blues

Depression not only affects your brain and behavior — it affects your entire body. Depression has been linked with other health problems, including diabetes. Dealing with more than one health problem at a time can be difficult, so proper treatment is important.


How are depression and diabetes linked?

Studies show that depression and diabetes may be linked, but scientists do not yet know whether depression increases the risk of diabetes or diabetes increases the risk of depression. Current research suggests that both cases are possible.

In addition to possibly increasing your risk for depression, diabetes may make symptoms of depression worse. The stress of managing diabetes every day and the effects of diabetes on the brain may contribute to depression. In the United States, people with diabetes are twice as likely as the average person to have depression.

At the same time, some symptoms of depression may reduce overall physical and mental health, not only increasing your risk for diabetes but making diabetes symptoms worse. For example, overeating may cause weight gain, a major risk factor for diabetes. Fatigue or feelings of worthlessness may cause you to ignore a special diet or medication plan needed to control your diabetes, worsening your diabetes symptoms. Studies have shown that people with diabetes and depression have more severe diabetes symptoms than people who have diabetes alone. 

How is depression treated in people who have diabetes?

Depression is diagnosed and treated by a healthcare provider. Treating depression can help you manage your diabetes and improve your overall health. Scientists report that for people who have diabetes and depression, treating depression can raise mood levels and increase blood glucose control. Recovery from depression takes time but treatments are effective.

If you think you are depressed or know someone who is, don’t lose hope. Seek help for depression.

Published March 17, 2015.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health. Revised 2011.
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