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Are Depression and Diabetes Linked?

Are Depression and Diabetes Linked?

Yes. Studies indicate that people with diabetes may be four times as likely to become depressed as people without diabetes. Why? If you consider that a feeling of helplessness is one of the most common causes of depression, it is easy to understand how the frustration and unpredictability of blood glucose control could lead to feeling helpless despite one's best efforts.

There is a difference between clinical depression and common sadness or grief. The main difference is in time and intensity. Clinical depression is more than the normal response of feeling down for a couple of hours or days. It is more dramatic and it takes you down further and longer.

A psychologist would diagnose clinical depression if a patient had five or more of these symptoms for at least two weeks:

·        Depressed mood (feeling sad or empty) most of the day, nearly every day

·        Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities of the day, nearly every day

·        Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day

·        Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much nearly every day

·        Feeling agitated or sluggish nearly every day

·        Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

·        Feeling worthless or excessively or inappropriately guilty nearly every day

·        Diminished ability to think or concentrate or make decisions, nearly every day

·        Recurrent thoughts of death (not just a fear of dying) or suicide, or suicide attempt or plan to commit suicide.

We know from studies that about two-thirds of doctors fail to recognize depression. It may be because they didn't ask or the patient didn't tell. In any case, if you think you fit the above criteria, you should talk with your doctor and ask for a referral to a mental health professional. Research indicates that professional counseling, sometimes in combination with anti-depressant medication, is a very effective treatment for depression.

Click here to learn more about diabetes and depression.

Page last updated: November 23, 2014