Diapression – Connect with help.
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Diabetes Advocates, a program of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, calls for greater patient attention to the relationship between diabetes and depression. Diabetes Advocates agrees with the opening sentence in a 2010 article in the Patient Education and Counseling: “There is an urgent need for more effective and efficient depression treatments in diabetes.” Says Diabetes Advocate member Scott Strange, “I encourage others with diabetes to recognize the relation between our disease and depression. Diabetes and depression are so often related that some professionals call the combination diapression. ” He adds that “if someone is living with diabetes, studies show he or she is twice as likely to be depressed when compared to a person without diabetes. People with diabetes should be aware of the signs of depression and take action, starting with talking to their healthcare professionals. ”
With more than 8% of the U.S. population already living with diabetes, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 3 adults may have diabetes by 2050 if this trend continues. Every person living with diabetes, regardless of their age or diabetes type, is susceptible to the rising tide of depression.
Recognition is one of the first steps in managing depression. The Mayo Clinic says, “The good news is that diabetes and depression can be treated together.”
The Mayo Clinic site has a list of symptoms broken down by age. Please keep in mind that signs of depression vary and not everyone experiences every symptom.
Take action. If you recognize the signs of depression, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. Depression symptoms may not get better on their own — and depression may get worse if it isn’t treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental and physical health problems and can cause problems in other areas of your life.
Treat. Your healthcare team will help you define the treatments that are best for you, based on your diabetes, and if they diagnose depression. Staying on your treatment plan is tough, particularly if you don’t know anyone else who shares the same struggles. Diabetes, depression, and especially diapression can often cause people to feel alone – but you are not alone.
Support is available! There is an entire online community of people with diabetes that understand the daily management of diabetes through honesty, laughter and friendship, and we welcome and encourage you to join the diabetes online community.
Often people with diabetes and mental health issues are stigmatized and feel isolated. Peer-to-peer contact not only helps to alleviate feelings of isolation, but reinforces the fact that those individuals are not alone.
The You Can Do This Project, a diabetes support initiative organized by several Diabetes Advocates members, has released a new video that discusses management of both diabetes and mental health:
Other peer connections can be found here:
Scholarly Articles on Depression and Diabetes:
Other organizations that provide support and resources for those with both diabetes and depression include:
About Diabetes Advocates
Diabetes Advocates (www.DiabetesAdvocates.org) is a program of the Diabetes Hands Foundation that connects advocates dedicated to improving the lives of people living with diabetes in order to accelerate and amplify their efforts. It serves as a way of connecting individuals that have taken a leadership role in improving the world for people touched by diabetes. Members of the program engage in mindful deliberation and build their capacity to act as diabetes patient advocates—whether online or offline, with medical professional, researchers, industry representatives, or policymakers.