Healthy Living

The Very Real and Deep Depression Often Associated with Diabetes

The Very Real and Deep Depression Often Associated with Diabetes

It really is no wonder that a person who is dealing with diabetes is at a much higher risk for developing depression and other mental health disorders. Managing a complex disease like diabetes is consuming and at times, can be downright overwhelming. 

Imagine always having to consider what was eaten, what will be eaten, and when will the next snack or meal take place. Never being able to leave the house without a glucose monitor, insulin, and stash of sweets for those unplanned sugar slumps.  In other words, having to live a carefully planned life - all the time.

The added stress of different treatments, the possibility of complications and other issues that may arise from the disease takes a definite toll on a person’s psyche. This is why it wasn’t necessarily big news when the American Diabetes Association released studies that indicated the high level of risk that their patients have to develop mental health issues. As more studies and the staggering results came to light, it became very clear that a solution to slow for the high level of mental health issues amongst diabetics needed to be found.

Finding the right solution

The obvious solution would be to set-up a number of mental health programs for diabetics.  It may seem like a simple enough solution but the reality is that it isn’t.  Recognizing that there needs to be more than just treatment plans but also a need for screening programs and specialized mental health professionals, The American Diabetes Association paired themselves with the American Psychological Association to develop a unique way to help diabetics.

What was born out of that partnership is a course designed to help mental health practitioner’s work with diabetics and recognize all the little special nuances that come along with life as a diabetic with a high risk for mental health problems. “The Mental Health Provider’s Diabetic Education Program” is a two-part continuing education program for licensed providers. The course, which is broken down into 7 hours of in-person coursework and 5 hours of online coursework, will allow practitioners to broaden their expertise and patient base.

Treating a mental health issue can be tricky and this is true for patients who are not only dealing with depression but are also diabetics.  In a nutshell, it’s much harder to manage and treat diabetes if the patient is dealing with mental health issues. To put into context, think about those very blue days that everyone has once in a while. Often times, the go-to self-help treatment option is to “veg”. Take some personal time to lie on the couch and binge watch Netflix while indulging in snacks and lots of them.  If a diabetic were to gorge themselves on ice-cream, chocolate, chips and soda, it could spell disaster.

Diabetics can also feel very alone when dealing with their disease.  While a relatively common disorder,  it’s still not one that is often talked about or even acknowledged. On top of that, finding someone to talk to who truly understands a diabetic’s lifestyle is very difficult. That is because, up until now, there was a lack of specialized training for physicians to ensure a treatment that is compatible enough for them and their disease.