What's the connection between diabetes and depression? How can I cope if I have both?

Answer From M. Regina Castro, M.D.

If you have diabetes — either type 1 or type 2 — you have an increased risk of developing depression. And if you're depressed, you may have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that diabetes and depression can be treated together. And effectively managing one can have a positive effect on the other.

How they're related

Though the relationship between diabetes and depression isn't fully understood:

  • The rigors of managing diabetes can be stressful and lead to symptoms of depression.
  • Diabetes can cause complications and health problems that may worsen symptoms of depression.
  • Depression can lead to poor lifestyle decisions, such as unhealthy eating, less exercise, smoking and weight gain — all of which are risk factors for diabetes.
  • Depression affects your ability to perform tasks, communicate and think clearly. This can interfere with your ability to successfully manage diabetes.

Managing the two conditions together

  • Diabetes self-management programs. Diabetes programs that focus on behavior have been successful in helping people improve their metabolic control, increase fitness levels, and manage weight loss and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. They can also help improve your sense of well-being and quality of life.
  • Psychotherapy. Similarly, participants in psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, have reported improvements in depression, which has resulted in better diabetes management.
  • Medications and lifestyle changes. Medications — for both diabetes and depression — and lifestyle changes, including different types of therapy coupled with regular exercise, can improve both conditions.
  • Collaborative care. New research shows that treatment supervised by a nurse case manager that steps up therapy when needed helps improve both depression and diabetes. This type of care may not be available in most health care systems.

If you have diabetes, watch for signs and symptoms of depression, such as loss of interest in normal activities, feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and unexplained physical problems such as back pain or headaches.

If you think you might be depressed, seek help right away. Your doctor or diabetes educator can refer you to a mental health professional.

With

M. Regina Castro, M.D.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Sept. 03, 2020 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. Medication-free hypertension control
  2. A1C test
  3. After a flood, are food and medicines safe to use?
  4. Alcohol: Does it affect blood pressure?
  5. Alpha blockers
  6. Amputation and diabetes
  7. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  8. Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  9. Anxiety: A cause of high blood pressure?
  10. Artificial sweeteners: Any effect on blood sugar?
  11. Bariatric surgery
  12. Beta blockers
  13. Beta blockers: Do they cause weight gain?
  14. Beta blockers: How do they affect exercise?
  15. Blood glucose meters
  16. Blood glucose monitors
  17. Blood pressure: Can it be higher in one arm?
  18. Blood pressure chart
  19. Blood pressure cuff: Does size matter?
  20. Blood pressure: Does it have a daily pattern?
  21. Blood pressure: Is it affected by cold weather?
  22. Blood pressure medication: Still necessary if I lose weight?
  23. Blood pressure medications: Can they raise my triglycerides?
  24. Blood pressure readings: Why higher at home?
  25. Blood pressure tip: Get more potassium
  26. Blood pressure tip: Get off the couch
  27. Blood pressure tip: Know alcohol limits
  28. Blood pressure tip: Stress out no more
  29. Blood pressure tip: Watch the caffeine
  30. Blood pressure tip: Watch your weight
  31. Blood sugar levels can fluctuate for many reasons
  32. Blood sugar testing: Why, when and how
  33. Bone and joint problems associated with diabetes
  34. Pancreas transplant animation
  35. Caffeine and hypertension
  36. Calcium channel blockers
  37. Calcium supplements: Do they interfere with blood pressure drugs?
  38. Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
  39. Central-acting agents
  40. Choosing blood pressure medications
  41. COVID-19: Who's at higher risk of serious symptoms?
  42. Diabetes
  43. Diabetes and dental care
  44. Diabetes and exercise: When to monitor your blood sugar
  45. Diabetes and fasting: Can I fast during Ramadan?
  46. Diabetes and foot care
  47. Diabetes and Heat
  48. 10 ways to avoid diabetes complications
  49. Diabetes diet: Should I avoid sweet fruits?
  50. Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan
  51. Diabetes foods: Can I substitute honey for sugar?
  52. Diabetes and liver
  53. Diabetes management: How lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar
  54. Diabetes: Eating out
  55. Diabetes nutrition: Sweets
  56. Diabetes symptoms
  57. Diabetes treatment: Can cinnamon lower blood sugar?
  58. Using insulin
  59. Diabetic Gastroparesis
  60. Diuretics
  61. Diuretics: A cause of low potassium?
  62. Do you know your blood pressure?
  63. Erectile dysfunction and diabetes
  64. High blood pressure and exercise
  65. Exercise and chronic disease
  66. Fatigue
  67. Free blood pressure machines: Are they accurate?
  68. Frequent urination
  69. Home blood pressure monitoring
  70. Glucose tolerance test
  71. Glycemic index: A helpful tool for diabetes?
  72. Hemochromatosis
  73. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  74. High blood pressure and cold remedies: Which are safe?
  75. High blood pressure and sex
  76. High blood pressure: Can you prevent it?
  77. High blood pressure dangers
  78. Hypertensive crisis: What are the symptoms?
  79. Insulin and weight gain
  80. Isolated systolic hypertension: A health concern?
  81. Kidney disease FAQs
  82. L-arginine: Does it lower blood pressure?
  83. Late-night eating: OK if you have diabetes?
  84. Low-phosphorus diet: Helpful for kidney disease?
  85. Medications and supplements that can raise your blood pressure
  86. Menopause and high blood pressure: What's the connection?
  87. Infographic: Pancreas Kidney Transplant
  88. Pancreas transplant
  89. Pulse pressure: An indicator of heart health?
  90. Reactive hypoglycemia: What can I do?
  91. Reading food labels
  92. Resperate: Can it help reduce blood pressure?
  93. Sleep deprivation: A cause of high blood pressure?
  94. Blood sugar testing
  95. Stress and high blood pressure
  96. The dawn phenomenon: What can you do?
  97. Unexplained weight loss
  98. Vasodilators
  99. Vegetarian diet: Can it help me control my diabetes?
  100. How diabetes affects your blood sugar
  101. How to measure blood pressure using a manual monitor
  102. How to measure blood pressure using an automatic monitor
  103. What is blood pressure?
  104. Can having vitamin D deficiency cause high blood pressure?
  105. Weight Loss Surgery Options
  106. What's your high blood pressure risk?
  107. White coat hypertension
  108. Wrist blood pressure monitors: Are they accurate?