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Diabetes and Mental Health

Ever think that good diabetic care might also include good mental health care? Our mental health affects all parts of our lives from how we feel, what we think, how we make decisions, choices and even how much stress with can handle.

There has been plenty of research on the mind-body connection. What’s the mind-body connection you say? It’s a powerful connection between our physical or biological selves and our thoughts, feelings and even our attitudes can positively or negatively impact our bodies and our overall health. Likewise, what we do to our bodies like eating, exercise, smoking or even how we stand can have a huge impact on our mental wellness. Simply put our mind-body connections is strong and it directly affects our health.

According to an article in the Journal of American Medical Association entitled The Mental Health Comorbidities of Diabetes people that have diabetics to have a great risk of depression and anxiety.

Depression is a medical illness that causes sadness, feelings of worthlessness, sleeping too little or too much. When your diabetes is not well managed your risk for other complications including heart disease, nerve damage and vision issues greatly increase.

Other symptoms of depression can include:

  1. Loss in interest in activities

  2. Isolation

  3. Sadness

  4. Hopelessness

  5. Feeling tired all the time

  6. Lack of concentration

  7. Headaches or generalized ache and pains

  8. Digestive problems

  9. Thoughts of suicide or death

Anxiety is also a medical illness that can cause excessive worry, uneasiness, restlessness, and fear. A person who has diabetes has a 20% greater risk increases for anxiety sometime in their life according to the Centers for Disease Control. Especially when first diagnosed with diabetes there are many medical and lifestyle changes. Education on Diabetics management is needed to understand the new condition fully. Newly diagnoses people can become excessive in watching their blood sugar (Glucose), and it can become anxiety producing and overwhelming. That leads to stress, excessive worry, and agitation which can make it harder to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Additional symptoms of anxiety:

  1. Keyed up or on edge

  2. Unable to fall asleep or stay asleep

  3. Concentration and memory loss

  4. Consistent fear of impending doom

  5. Obsessive thought or “what if…”

  6. Increased blood pressure

  7. Panic Attacks


Luckily, you can make easy changes that will have a huge positive effect on managing your diabetes and mental wellness.

  1. Take a walk and get moving daily.

  2. Water acrobatics is a good fitness activity because it provides both cardiovascular benefit and resistant work; making your muscles work more. Find certified fitness instructors like the ones from Aquamotion Ability Foundation in Riverside, CA. They offer various classes from beginner to advance.

  3. Meditation or Yoga helps with a positive mind-body connection and decreases stress, depression, and anxiety.

  4. Get educated on your diabetes

  5. Limited caffeine and alcohol consumption.

  6. Eat healthily and get enough sleep.

  7. Be social, people with a good network of friends have less severe mental health issues

  8. Work with your healthcare team.

  9. See a therapist if your depression, anxiety or stresses is not getting better or gets worse.

If you need more information on depression or anxiety, please call our office (951) 778-0230 and arrange an appointment to speak to a therapist.

Sheralyn (Sherry) Shockey-Pope, LMFT is the Chief Operation Officer and Co-Owner of Central Counseling Services. Sherry oversees the day to day operation of the practice in two locations Riverside and Murrieta, and she directly supervises associates, licensed therapists, and the support staff. Her practice consists of 23 clinicians and five support staff. Sherry has extensive teaching and speaking experience and presents on topics of depression, anxiety, child abuse, adoption, business performance, and mindset blocks. Although she is not taking new clients, she can help you find the perfect therapist fit from her hand selected and well-trained therapist team. In her spare time, Sherry enjoys being outdoors, water aerobics, swimming, hiking, gardening or sailing.

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