Is it depression?

Ask our CDE

Is it depression?

Question:

I have been having some problems so I went to my doctor. He says that I have depression and that it is common for people with diabetes to be depressed.

I don’t feel sad, but I was having trouble sleeping and concentrating. I worry a lot too and just don’t really care about much any more.

Is this depression? I don’t cry, it’s just that I don’t care. And what does this have to do with diabetes?

Thank you,

(anonymous please)

 

Answer:

The condition of depression is different than what we think of as “being depressed” (sad or blue). Depression is a disorder that can have many symptoms. Feeling like you don’t care (just flat, without emotions), anxiety or nervousness, difficulty sleeping, overeating, under-eating, thinking about suicide, sadness (especially in the morning), tiredness, guilt, feelings of hopelessness, and decreased interest in enjoyable activities (including sex) are just some of the symptoms that a person with depression might feel/experience. Interestingly, some people only have these symptoms after childbirth, near the time of their periods, or only in the fall/winter months.

The condition of depression is different than what we think of as “being depressed” (sad or blue). Depression is a disorder that can have many symptoms. Feeling like you don’t care (just flat, without emotions), anxiety or nervousness, difficulty sleeping, overeating, under-eating, thinking about suicide, sadness (especially in the morning), tiredness, guilt, feelings of hopelessness, and decreased interest in enjoyable activities (including sex) are just some of the symptoms that a person with depression might feel/experience. Interestingly, some people only have these symptoms after childbirth, near the time of their periods, or only in the fall/winter months.

Your doctor is correct in stating that there is a link between diabetes and depression. Depression occurs in persons with diabetes about twice as often as it does in persons without diabetes. No one knows exactly why, but it seems to be linked to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Depression is more common in women in general, and may be due to physical factors such as hormonal changes. Additionally many women have lots of stressors in their lives already, and diabetes just adds another.

The most important thing is to recognize and accept the symptoms of depression and to get help from your healthcare provider. Treatments vary but may include medications, therapy, exercising, and nutritional counseling. Of course if your blood sugars aren’t in control it makes you feel terrible anyway, so it just adds to what can become a vicious cycle.

It takes time for the symptoms of depression to go away. If you are not feeling better in a few weeks, or your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider. I hope you are feeling much better soon!

 

Laurie Porcaro RN CDE