Diabetes not only takes a toll on your body but also your mind. There is not a single day when one can take break from managing diabetes and there is a need to constantly control your blood sugar levels to avoid health complications. The impact of fluctuating glucose levels on the mood combined with the stress of taking medication, eating right and staying active takes a toll on mental health of people with diabetes. People with diabetes can experience depression, anxiety, mood swings among other such issues. Self-care, therapy, setting small goals, staying in touch with your loved ones can help diabetics maintain a good mental health. (Also read: 5 ways diabetes can affect women’s health)
“Research has shown that patients suffering from diabetes suffer depression 2-3 times more than the general population. However, usually it is not diagnosed at the right time, so it is important when a diabetic patient feels unhappy, dull particularly when it leads to change in the lifestyle in terms of activities which they do, sleep, food and medicine then we know patient has reached a level of depression where patient needs some kind of therapy,” says Dr. Vipul Gupta – Chief – Neurointerventional Surgery & Co-Chief Stroke Unit, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram.
People with diabetes also feel more stressed than others. Dr Gupta says stress can lead to increase in stress hormones which worsens the sugar control and when patients get stressed out they usually lose the discipline to take their medications regularly and to monitor the sugar levels.
HOW TO MANAGE MENTAL HEALTH IN PEOPLE WITH DIABETES
“Diabetes can cause adverse effects on mental health. Rapid changes in mood, anxiety, fatigue and stress are probable. Self-care and lifestyle modification is very crucial in this condition. Therapy helps in acceptance of the condition and developing positive beliefs about your life, emotional regulation and distress tolerance through various relaxation techniques,” says Dr Rituparna Ghosh, Consultant, clinical Psychology Apollo Hospitals Navi Mumbai.
2. SMALL GOALS
Dr Ghosh says focusing on small goals and attaining them every day is more recommended than thinking of achieving wellness all at once.
3. KEEP A JOURNAL
“A journal can help organize your thoughts and emotional triggers like ways your diabetes changed your social life and how talking about it makes you feel sad and then work towards dealing with it accordingly. Enhance your emotional and family support system,” says Dr Ghosh.
4. BE SOCIALLY ACTIVE
“Being socially active among peer groups and friends, exercising on regular basis, doing yoga and meditation is scientifically known to reduce stress levels,” says Dr Gupta.
5. JOIN SUPPORT GROUP
Dr Gupta says there are many support groups for diabetics which can also help them to handle their mental health.
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