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Type 1 Diabetes and Depression

Type 1 Diabetes and Depression

Diabetes and Depression are greatly linked, and although both types of diabetes are associated with a higher risk of depression, type 1 diabetes is likely to have a greater association.

Mental health issues such as distress, anxiety, and disordered eating are more common among type 1 diabetics.

Depression is estimated to affect one in every four diabetics. Adolescents and teenagers with type 1 diabetes are five times more likely to be depressed than normal adolescents.

However, both of these chronic conditions are treatable with just a little extra effort. It is critical to pay attention to how you feel about having diabetes or caring for someone who has diabetes.

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Why is Depression Highly Associated with Type 1 Diabetes?

The link between depression and diabetes has been known for many years. This link can also be termed as “Bidirectional” because one condition can cause the other.

For example, people with diabetes are more likely to be depressed and people who have depression are more likely to get diabetes.

Despite the enormous evidence that the two conditions are greatly linked, no particular cause is known.

Some studies have linked Type 1 diabetes and Depression with inflammatory cytokines, Interleukins, TNF-alpha, and others.

Some of the factors that put you at risk of being depressed while having diabetes are:

  • Female gender
  • Age (being too young or old)
  • People who lack social support
  • People with multiple disorders along with diabetes
  • Excessive stress
  • Low socioeconomic status
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How does Depression Affect Diabetes?

Depression greatly affects your diabetes treatment, management, and the effect of the treatment measures that are being used.

People with type 1 diabetes who also have depression have a worse overall health status, they have concentration issues, continuous fatigue, and mismanaged routines due to which their blood glucose levels are also not well managed.

This puts them at a greater risk of getting affected by diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and severe hypoglycemia, and more diabetic complications.

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Symptoms of Depression

Having type 1 diabetes doesn’t mean you will develop the symptoms of depression. However, if you are already stressed and you have diabetes, then the management and other stressful conditions can most likely cause depression.

Symptoms of depression should be taken seriously and one should always get treated before its too late.

Symptoms of depression in adults include:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest
  • Disrupted sleep patterns such as sleeping too much or not sleeping at all
  • Binge eating – eating too much or not eating properly
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Concentration problems, problems in decision-making and speaking
  • Involuntary movements
  • Feelings of failure, worthlessness, guilt, and regret
  • Getting suicidal thoughts

In children and adolescents

  • Irritability
  • Body aches and pains
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Poor academic performance

In teenagers, symptoms may also include:

  • Irritability and anger
  • Poor academic performance
  • Feeling alone
  • Being extremely sensitive
  • Trouble making friends
  • Drug or alcohol use
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How to cope with depression if you have diabetes?

Coping with two chronic conditions can be difficult but some self-management programs can be helpful.

These programs emphasize behavior and help in improving moods, improving physical fitness, and managing weight loss.

These programs can take away half of your burdens and live a better life.

Some other helpful strategies are:


Depression symptoms can also be managed by psychotherapy, particularly that focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy.

This helps in mood-boosting, and behavior management and helps avoid the majority of depression symptoms.

When you’ve controlled your depression, you can properly focus on diabetes treatment.

Medications and lifestyle modifications:

Both diabetes and depression can be improved with medication and lifestyle changes.

Different types of therapy, as well as regular exercise, are beneficial for both diabetes and depression.

Such treatments should be monitored by a team of providers who increases therapy according to the patient’s requirements.

It is important to avoid severe hypoglycemia which can have adrenergic symptoms that may mimic anxiety. Repeated hypoglycemia can make depression worse.

On the other hand, depression medications may also have an effect on blood glucose. The effect of antidepressants on blood glucose in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is summarized in the table below [Ref]:

Effect on Blood Glucose


Cause hyperglycemia: Impair blood glucose and increase cravings for food.Desipramine
Normalized blood glucose: Improve insulin sensitivity and reduce hyperglycemiaFluoxetine
No effectDuloxetine
May cause hypoglycemiaMAO inhibitors (Phenelzine)


Support from your friends and family is another important factor in managing depression in diabetics.

It also involved connecting with other diabetics, this might help you better understand and manage the problems when faced together with other people

Taking care of your mental health:

It is critical to monitor your blood glucose levels, administer insulin, plan your meals, and attend to your physical needs.

It takes a lot of effort and can be emotionally draining. It is natural to be frustrated or tired of managing diabetes. Asking for help is a sign of strength.

Good diabetes management necessitates maintaining your mental and emotional health.

Feeling physically good is only half of the battle; feeling good about yourself allows you to care for yourself.

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It is crucial to identify and treat mental health problems and in diabetics the importance doubles because poor mental health causes failure to properly manage diabetes.

Depression among diabetics is often underdiagnosed and overlooked however all patients and diabetes specialists should look for any possible depression symptoms.

A multidisciplinary approach should be used to manage both conditions to improve health outcomes.

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What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

Here is a link to My Facebook Page. You can also contact me by email at or at My Twitter Account
You can also contact me via WhatsApp 🙏

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