Living with Diabetes - Diabetes & Mental Health
Friday, November 27, 2020

Coping with a Diabetes Diagnosis 

A Diabetes diagnosis can be a life altering event. Whether it be Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, it can mean changes to your lifestyle that require significant adjustments to your routine and way of life. It may be an opportunity for you to lead a healthier more balanced lifestyle.

It is common for those diagnosed with Diabetes to feel a range of emotions such as a feeling of loss, anger, disbelief, fear, shock, guilt, denial. All these feelings are normal and talking about how you are feeling may be enough to make you feel better. It is important to recognise these feeling as normal and acknowledge them, seek support from family, friends, your GP or nurse.

Be kind to yourself - remember that everyone is different and how you and your family cope with your Diabetes diagnosis will vary. Celebrate small successes.

Starting a mood diary or journal can be a great way to keep track of your emotions and spot any links between how you feel physically and emotionally. Regular physical activity has many positive effects on your mental health giving you increased feelings of wellbeing, makes you feel more positive, helps you manage stress and reduce anxiety.

It is also important to open up to someone you can trust about how you are feeling, and also to recognise that as time goes on, you will adjust to your new way of life and you will become more confident in your ability to cope with the demands that Diabetes can throw at you.

There are lots of things you can do to help yourself. And there are lots of supports available to help you cope with your Diabetes Diagnosis.

Taking the following steps with your healthcare team will help you to come to terms with your diagnosis and get the right support:

  • Write down your thoughts, feelings and questions before your Appointment,
  • Ask someone you trust to go with you to your appointments,
  • If a carer or someone close to you comes to your Appointment with you, ask them to make notes so you don’t have to worry about remembering every detail,
  • Be honest about your health and how you are really feeling,
  • Get the information you need, at your own pace,
  • Understand your new responsibilities and the part you play in Managing your Diabetes,
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling with any of the impacts of diabetes, however small or big the issue feels. 
  • Seek support from others living with Diabetes

Diabetes and Depression

Depression is a Medical Illness that causes feelings of sadness and often a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy. It can get in the way of how well you function at work and home, including taking care of your Diabetes.

People with Diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have Depression than people without Diabetes.

Symptoms of Depression can be mild to severe, and include:

  • Feeling sad or empty,
  • Losing interest in favourite activities,
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all,
  • Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much,
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions,
  • Feeling very tired,
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty,
  • Having aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems,
  • Having thoughts of suicide or death,

If you think you might have depression, talk to your Doctor, Diabetes Educator or Pharmacist for help and support. The earlier depression is treated, the better for you, your quality of life, and your Diabetes.

Managing Diabetes & Depression

The good news is that Diabetes and Depression can be treated together. And effectively managing one can have a positive effect on the other.

  • Diabetes self-management programs.Diabetes programs that focus on behaviour have been successful in helping people improve their metabolic control, increase fitness levels, and manage weight loss and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. They can also help improve your sense of well-being and quality of life.
  • Similarly, participants in psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, have reported improvements in depression, which has resulted in better diabetes management.

  • Medications and lifestyle changes.Medications — for both Diabetes and Depression — and lifestyle changes, including different types of therapy coupled with regular exercise, can improve both conditions.

  • Collaborative care – Healthcare Teams working together, can improve outcomes for people living with Diabetes.

How your Pharmacist can help?

Your Pharmacist is ideally placed to help you to:

  • Understand your Diabetes Treatment,
  • Overcome challenges in managing your condition,
  • Provide and where appropriate, refer to relevant Services for emotional support.


Ask your local CarePlus Pharmacist for help and advice in managing your Diabetes.

There are lots of supports available from Diabetes Ireland, see or telephone 01-842 8118

Information from Diabetes Ireland

Diabetes Ireland