Feeling low in spirit once in a while is quite normal. But some people have this feeling of prolonged sadness that doesn’t quite seem to go away. Life may seem endless with no hope. If such feeling prolongs for quite some time, it could be a sign of serious depression.
Could diabetes be the cause of depression?
Most diabetics do not have depression. But research has revealed that people with diabetes are at a greater risk of depression than people without diabetes. The stress of daily management of diabetes can build up. This extra work may make you feel alone or set apart from family and friends. If you are having diabetes complications such as nerve damage or if your blood sugar levels seem to spiral out of control, you may feel that diabetes has taken charge of you. Depression is a vicious cycle. If you are depressed and experience lack of energy, there is a chance that you will find regular blood sugar testing to be too much of a task.
Watch out for signs of Depression
Identifying the signs of depression is the first step. Getting help for depression is the second. Look out for the following symptoms of depression:
1. Change in eating patterns: You may eat more or less that what you used to, resulting in quick weight gain or weight loss.
2. Change in sleep habits: You may experience trouble falling asleep. You may wake up during the night or you may want to sleep more than usual, even during the evening.
3. Difficulty in concentration: You may find it difficult to watch a TV program or read a book as other thoughts grab your attention.
4. Fatigue: Feeling excessively tired.
5. Feelings of guilt: You may feel that you can never do anything right or that you are a burden to others.
6. Loss of interest: You no longer take pleasure in doing things that other people enjoy.
7. Nervousness: You can’t sit still for long. You always feel anxious. If you have three or more of these symptoms, you need help.
Reach out for help
If you feel the symptoms of depression, don’t try and deal with it yourself. First, speak about it with your doctor. There could be a physical cause for your depression. Difficulty in having control over your diabetes can cause symptoms that may resemble that of depression.
During the day, high or low levels of blood sugar may make you feel either too tired or too anxious. Low levels of blood sugar may lead to feeling hunger and cause you to eat too much. Low levels of blood sugar at night can also disturb your sleep. High levels of blood sugar at night may cause you to get up often to urinate and then feel tired in the morning.
Other physical causes of depression may include:
• Drinking alcohol
• Thyroid problems
• Drug abuse
• Side effects from some medication
Do not stop taking any medicine without consulting with your doctor. Your doctor can assist you in discovering the root cause of your sad feelings.
Treatment for depression
If a physical cause for depression is ruled out, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:
• Psychotherapy (counselling)
• Medication for depression