Beating Diabetes & Depression

Ask our CDE

Beating Diabetes & Depression


My name is Rose. Sometime early this year my mother was diagnosed with Diabetes. She is 62yrs old, and I worry that she is overweight. This is because she also suffers from depression and takes medication that relaxes her and makes her sleep most of the time. How can she be helped?



Dear Rose,

It is not uncommon for people who have diabetes to become depressed, and in fact we don’t fully understand the connection between depression and diabetes . . . as to which comes first . . . a depressed life style that can lead to diabetes, or diabetes itself, which can lead to depression.  And, although the medications used for treatment of depression help relieve the symptoms, they rarely address the underlying cause, because the symptoms most always return once the medication is discontinued.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for chronic depression, when it is used as a follow up or conjunctive treatment with medication for acute and severe depressive episodes . . . with the added benefit of symptom relief that often persists following discontinuation of therapy.

A group of distinguished Cognitive Behavioral Therapists were therefore commissioned to develop a “maintenance” program that could be used as follow up to traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The result of their effort is now called Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. An excellent book entitled “The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness” by Mark Williams, et al. is now available, which is based on the principles of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. The book includes a CD that can help in development of basic skills that address the underlying cause of depression.

Keep in mind, however, that your mother may not be ready or willing to apply herself to the process that is necessary to overcome depression . . . and that the decision for change must be hers. Your role should be one of non judgmental and supportive love, without enabling behavior that is counterproductive to your mother’s well being.

Thank you for caring enough to ask, and blessing to you as you seek to be a loving and supportive daughter.