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It isn’t surprising that having a mental health problem can make it harder to stick to your diabetes care plan. Left untreated, a mental health problem can make diabetes worse. At the same time, problems with diabetes can make mental health issues worse.
But here’s some good news: if one gets better, the other tends to get better, too.
When diabetes is not managed well, the risk goes up for serious complications like heart disease, kidney failure and nerve damage.
Studies show that about 40 percent of people with diabetes have depression. Depression can get in the way of managing your diabetes and how you care for yourself in general. It can lead to making risky choices like:
It’s important to know the signs of depression:
Without treatment, depression often gets worse. But treatment, including therapy, medicine, or both, is often very effective.
Taking your medicines is vital to getting better. If you don’t, your symptoms may come back. It can even put you in the hospital. To start:
Be sure to keep appointments with your doctor and other health care providers and discuss any questions you may have. Work with your diabetes care team on your treatment plan and goals, like a blood glucose level that is right for you.
Talk openly about how you’re following your treatment plan. Talk about any barriers that may affect your treatment success. That might include trouble keeping up with taking your medications or side effects from them. Don’t stop taking them. Call your doctor and share your concerns.
And if you’re struggling with depression, talk to your doctor about a referral to a mental health provider with experience in diabetes.
Remember, your doctor is ready to help you work toward good physical and mental health.
Diabetes can be overwhelming, so it’s important to ask for help. Your diabetes care team can help you make a plan and set your goals. And tell your friends and family how they can help you stick to your plan.
Originally published 11/2/2020; Revised 2022
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