Diabetes distress is not the same as depression. If you don't
know what to look for, you won't know the steps to take to deal
with this common emotional state.
Here is a simple definition and five simple questions to ask
Diabetes distress is when the emotional burden of living with
diabetes starts to affect your daily life, including work, school,
relationships, and diabetes management. Daily self-management feels
like a relentless burden.
Do you feel:
- overwhelmed by the demands of living with diabetes?
- that you are 'failing' with your diabetes management?
- worried about your risk of long-term complications?
- frustrated that you can't predict or 'control' diabetes from
one day to the next?
- guilty when your diabetes management gets 'off track'?
If you answered yes to these questions, read on.
Severe diabetes distress affects one in four people with type 1
diabetes, one in five people with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes,
and one in six people with non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes. You
are not alone.
If diabetes distress is not managed, it can get worse over
It may lead to 'burnout', which is when a person feels
emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed by the demands of their
diabetes and tries to cope by ignoring their condition.
No one with diabetes can ignore their condition. It's important
to check in on your management and your feelings regularly.
Here's what you can do about diabetes distress:
- Stop blaming yourself
- Start being kinder to yourself
- If you're completely fed up, take a break. While you can't
completely ignore your diabetes, spend a little less time and
energy on it for a week or two, if it's safe to do so. Re-assess
your goals. If you feel like you're not achieving your goals, set
one or two smaller goals that you will achieve. You might feel
better with some wins.
- Get connected. Talking with friends or family may help, or you
may feel it's easier to talk with others who understand what it's
like to live with diabetes. Join a support group or online
community to access peer support.
- Talk with your diabetes health professional and let them know
how you're feeling.
For more information
click here to read the National Diabetes Services Scheme Diabetes
Distress fact sheet.