Can diabetes affect your mood?

Living with diabetes can affect your mood and mental health. You can experience mood swings when your blood glucose levels are too high or low. Stress, depression, and anxiety can also crop up.

Managing diabetes on a daily basis can feel overwhelming, so it’s important to check in on your emotional well-being every once in a while.

Managing your mental health is important to your overall health. There’s lots of help available. You are not alone.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed reach out those close to you, talk to your doctor or call Diabetes Queensland to make an appointment with our Psychologist on Call.

Mood swings and diabetes

Feeling a range of highs and lows is not uncommon if you have diabetes. Your blood glucose impacts how you feel and can contribute to mood swings. Poor management of blood glucose can lead to negative moods.

You may notice that you feel unwell if your blood glucose is high or low and that getting your level back into your target range instantly improves your outlook.

You might also notice a pattern with your emotions when your blood glucose is high or low. So it’s important to test your levels to understand what’s happening in your body when you feel a certain way. For instance, low blood glucose levels may make you feel:

  • confused
  • nervous
  • irritable
  • shaky
  • tired
  • sweaty.

High blood glucose levels may make you feel:

  • angry
  • sad
  • foggy
  • thirsty
  • tired
  • nervous.

It’s important to keep your blood glucose as stable as possible. If you experience big fluctuations throughout the day, talk with your doctor or diabetes educator about ways to achieve better management.

Stress and diabetes

The stress of a diabetes diagnosis, and the stress of managing diabetes over time, can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and diabetes burnout. Some reasons you may feel stressed include:

  • not feeling physically well,
  • changes required to your lifestyle and the cost of managing your diabetes,
  • feeling overwhelmed about lifelong treatment, or
  • being exhausted by your daily management plan.

Stress can affect diabetes negatively. Stress that lasts for weeks or months can lead to unstable glucose levels. Your blood glucose levels can rise and fall which can affect your mood.

Stress can also interfere with managing your diabetes. When you’re stressed you might be less motivated to exercise and eat and drink according to your treatment plan.
If you’re feeling stressed about your diabetes talk to your doctor or diabetes educator. We also have some tips on managing stress you might find helpful.

Mental health and diabetes

People living with diabetes are four times more likely to suffer depression than the general population. Some symptoms of depression include:

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • weight gain or loss
  • tiredness or lethargy
  • difficulty concentrating.

It’s important to recognize symptoms of depression and seek help right away. Depression can make it difficult to manage diabetes. The highs and lows you experience with poorly managed diabetes can lead to greater changes in mood and worsening symptoms.

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of depression talk to your doctor or make an appointment with a mental health professional.

Diabetes Queensland also offers a Psychologist on Call service, that is free to members of our Community. Call our Helpline on 1800 177 055 to find out more or to make an appointment.

Tips for coping

There are many ways you can make diabetes management easier and reduce the chances of experiencing mood changes, stress, depression, or another mental health condition. Try these methods for diabetes management:

Follow your diabetes treatment plan

Make sure you look after your diabetes by monitoring and managing your BGLs, taking required medications, eating well and getting regular exercise.

Check your blood glucose regularly

Watch for high and low readings. Record unusual readings to talk to your doctor or healthcare team if needed.

Plan your meals

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is important if you have diabetes. Prepare food in advance if it makes it easier to follow your meal plan during the busy week.

Seek out help

There are many people who can help you stay on track with your diabetes management so don’t be afraid to ask for help from your doctor, diabetes educator, family friends or support group.

Diabetes Queensland is also here for support. We have a team of expert health professionals who can help you with all aspects of your diabetes management. No question is too silly. If you need help call us on 1800 177 055.

Join our community of over 33,000 people living with diabetes