Are you ever frustrated, angry, or stressed when managing your diabetes? It’s not just you, many people find managing diabetes emotionally demanding. In fact, the term “diabetes distress” describes the negative emotions experienced by people who have diabetes.
If this resonates with you, you should know that diabetes distress is quite common.
What is Diabetes Distress?
Diabetes distress refers to the emotional state of being in which symptoms can include feeling overwhelmed with the burden of managing diabetes; fear and worries about complications and/or them progressing or having a severe low; feeling defeated, discouraged, and maybe burned out when not meeting blood sugar goals despite efforts to manage them.
These overwhelming feelings can cause people to slip into unhealthy habits such as not checking blood sugar levels or skipping doctor’s appointments.
Diabetes distress can happen to anyone with T1 or T2 diabetes—often after years of good management. Over the course of an 18-month period, 33% to 50% of diabetics will experience diabetes distress.
Diabetes Distress or Depression?
Type 1 diabetes does not take a holiday, and managing it can become challenging and frustrating, especially when your results aren’t as expected. Diabetes distress differs from major depressive disorder in many ways, but the conditions often overlap and have some similar symptoms. Due to the similarities between diabetes distress and depression, sometimes diabetes distress is diagnosed and treated incorrectly.
Compared with major depressive disorder, diabetes distress:
- Is diagnosed in people with diabetes
- Is not considered a psychiatric disorder
- Is more common than depression
- Shares similar symptoms with depression, but does not meet major depressive disorder criteria
- Is unlikely to respond to medications as depression does
- Is often linked to poor glycemic management and self-care
How Can You Manage Diabetes Distress
If you experience any form of diabetes distress, you must speak with your diabetes educator or physician so they can make an assessment and establish a treatment plan for you.
Listed below are some suggestions for coping with diabetes distress:
- Let your family and friends know how you feel so they can support you
- Consider talking to a mental health professional
- Get involved with a diabetes support group
- Switch up your routine
- Set realistic goals and don’t expect to be perfect
Remember that it’s important to pay attention to your feelings. If you notice that you’re feeling frustrated, tired, and unable to make decisions about your diabetes care, take action. Tell your family, friends, and health care providers. They can help you get the support you need.
Is your diabetes distress related to having difficulty accessing the diabetic supplies you need? Helping Diabetics USA is here to help! Our mission is to help uninsured and underinsured diabetics get the diabetic supplies they need at a fraction of the cost. Send us a message to learn more!