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Sanofi Canada

2905 Place Louis-R.-Renaud
Laval, Quebec, H7V 0A3

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Diabetes and Depression

Being diagnosed with diabetes may stir up a wide range of emotions such as shock, anger, sadness and fear. Learning to live with diabetes can also be a difficult transition. Having to monitor blood glucose readings, carefully consider what to eat and manage any possible complications are a lot to manage on a daily basis, and may cause one to feel overwhelmed, which in turn may lead to feelings of burden and depression.


In these instances, don't hesitate to talk to your diabetes care provider and seek professional help. Here are some tips and tools that will help you manage feelings of depression.

Track your emotions

For a period of time (one, two or three weeks) keep a record of how you feel and the circumstances surrounding your feelings. Many people find that patterns emerge when they examine repeated episodes of distress. For example, do you feel angry if friends ask what you can eat or make a special menu when you go over for dinner? If this were the case, it might be helpful to have an open and honest conversation with your friends and loved ones. This example illustrates that finding patterns with your distress can lead to problem solving strategies that can improve your mood.

Appreciate and understand your feelings

It may not always seem like it, but our emotions act as a form of protection. For example, feeling denial when we first get bad news helps us cope and process the information a little bit at a time without becoming overwhelmed. Listening to what your emotions are telling you is important. If you feel defensive or angry when your diabetes is mentioned in public, that may be a sign that you haven't accepted it yourself. Try not to be critical of yourself for your feelings. People are much more able to cope when they take a nonjudgmental stance and try to understand their feelings rather than evaluate them as good or bad, or as a sign of strength or weakness.

Connect with others

Talking with someone who understands what you're going through can be an enormous relief. Knowing that you are not alone in this experience will help alleviate feelings of grief, guilt, fear and isolation. Contact the Canadian Diabetes Association to learn about diabetes-related community events in your area, or to sign up for their newsletter.

Make a plan

Make a list of questions and all the things you want to talk about with your doctor or diabetes educator during your next visit. Ask them to help you come up with a strategy for adjusting your diet and making an exercise plan you can begin. If you have other changes to make, such as quitting smoking or drinking less alcohol, they can guide you to steps that will help you reach those goals. Having a plan and taking control of your own health can be very empowering.

Get active

Depression can drain a person's energy and motivation. A good way to fight this is by focusing on something you enjoy doing but that also gives you a sense of accomplishment. Try scheduling or planning an event you'll look forward to. Even if you don't feel like doing it at first, you might find that once you get started you are glad that you did.

Talk to a trained professional

Some psychologists and therapists specialize in treating people who live with diabetes and can help you understand what you're experiencing. They can advise you on how to cope with your feelings. Whether it's only once or on a more regular basis, sharing your feelings with someone outside of your day-to-day life will provide you with a fresh perspective. Talk to your diabetes provider about connecting to these professionals.

Be mindful of depression

A period of grieving is normal after being diagnosed with a disease. However, if you are feeling prolonged sadness (longer than 2 weeks or feeling sad all day) this may be a sign of depression, which is twice as common for people with diabetes. Those living with diabetes and dealing with depression tend to have poorer blood glucose management and more health complications. If you feel down for more than a few months after you receive your diagnosis, you could be suffering from something called diabetes distress. To learn more about diabetes distress, click here.

Learn more

Learn more about the emotional aspects of diabetes by visiting the Canadian Diabetes Association website. They have articles on what it's like to get the news about diabetes. By clicking here, you will be leaving this site.