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How common is depression in people with diabetes?

The stress of daily diabetes management can build. You may feel alone or set apart from your friends and family because of all this extra work. If you face diabetes complications such as nerve damage, or if you are having trouble keeping your blood sugar levels where you'd like, you may feel like you're losing control of your diabetes. Depression can lead to poor lifestyle decisions such as unhealthy eating, less exercise, smoking, alcohol abuse and weight gain. All these are risk factors for diabetes and make it more difficult to control sugar levels. Even tension between you and your doctor may make you feel frustrated and sad.

According to studies, between 9 and 11 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are affected by depressive disorders; that number rises significantly to 26 percent when lesser forms of depression are included.

Worldwide estimates of the prevalence of depression among people with diabetes appear to vary by nation, with prevalence rates ranging from roughly 15 to 40 percent. As the number of people with diabetes is expected to rapidly escalate—to 438 million in 2030—it is imperative that research is expanded to better understand to whom, how, and why depression in diabetes is happening so that better prevention and treatment programs can be developed.

Managing diabetes can be stressful and exhausting. Between the constant vigilance over what you eat, the cost of care and frequent glucose testing, you might find yourself feeling depressed. Depression can do more than make you sad, irritable or lose interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can also increase your diabetes risk by 60 percent. How? People who are depressed often don't exercise and may eat poorly, both of which boost your odds of developing diabetes. Research also links depression with hormonal changes that can raise your risk for obesity and diabetes.

If you feel sad or hopeless due to diabetes, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. You may need medications, therapy, or a combination of both.

The rate of depression in people with diabetes is much higher than in the general population. Previous studies have shown individuals who are insulin-resistant may have higher serotonin concentrations and may be more prone to depression and even suicide. The risk of depression increases in women with diabetes, since women often face additional stresses, such as responsibilities both at work and home, single parenthood, and caring for children and for aging parents.

The stress of daily diabetes management can build as well. You may feel alone or set apart from your friends and family. If you face diabetes complications such as nerve damage, or if you are having trouble keeping your blood sugar levels where you'd like, you may feel like you're losing control of your diabetes. Even tension between you and your doctor may make you feel frustrated and sad.

Continue Learning about Diabetes and Depression

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.