Diabetes and Depression: Double Trouble


Linda Wasmer Andrews

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Living with diabetes can be challenging, leading to worry and stress about your health. Doctors have coined the term “diabetes distress” to describe this very common type of emotional reaction. But if you feel sad or hopeless for weeks on end, you could have a more serious condition: depression.

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to have depression as those without diabetes—a harmful combination. One study found that, in people older than 65 with diabetes, those who also had depression were 78% more likely to die early than those who were depression-free.

A Vicious Cycle

Doctors still aren’t sure exactly why diabetes and depression so often go hand in hand. But they know that diabetes can give rise to difficult emotions. For example, you might feel stress over worsening complications or tension with your doctor. Or you might feel a sense of isolation from family and friends as you cope with your disease. In some people, those emotions may set off a bout of full-blown depression.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes may seem similar, but they’re actually very different diseases. Dr. Anthony Cardillo discusses the development and treatment of the two conditions.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Aug 13, 2015

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