Although the connection is not easily explained, there is sufficient belief that a sincere link exists between diabetes and depression. Depression may result from stress, but it also might develop from the metabolic effects of diabetes on your brain. And the difficulty in managing diabetes can be stressful unto itself, making the situation worse. Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed, and sometimes is only given consideration well after another serious condition such as diabetes has developed.
Likewise, you can develop diabetes but shrug it off as depression, as many of the symptoms are similar. Some of these signs include:
- change in appetite
- lack of energy
- irritability, agitation, restlessness
- reduced libido
- significant weight gain or weight loss
Depression can also lead to poor lifestyle decisions such as unhealthy eating and lack of exercise, increasing your risk of developing diabetes. Furthermore, this mental state can interfere with your ability to manage diabetes, as depressed people often find their communication and thinking skills affected.
Depression has been shown to increase your risk for diabetes, for reasons which include the following:
1. People with depressive episodes tend to be less likely to follow meal plans and exercise routines, and are also more likely to smoke cigarettes.
2. People who are depressed have higher levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which can affect your blood sugar metabolism, insulin resistance and can encourage the accumulation of belly fat.
Thus diagnosing depression and/or diabetes is essential to help you manage either or both. Since depression leads to poorer physical and mental functioning, a person is less likely to follow a proper diet plan. If you have developed this mental state because of diabetes, it may benefit you tremendously to seek professional help. Once you have seen a doctor and been prescribed appropriate medication, natural health care such as psychotherapy and acupuncture can help a great deal. Consistent sessions with a psychotherapist will help you manage your depression, and can also help ensure that you are motivated to be following your exercise and diet plans. Acupuncture can affect your hormone levels, blood flow and more, without interfering with whatever medication you are on. This is excellent if you are suffering from both depression and diabetes, as an acupuncture treatment can help with both at the same time, by treating you from a standpoint of energy flow rather than biochemical interactions.
By Richard Lobbenberg, Acupuncturist and TCM Practitioner
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