Blood Sugar and Mental Health

You may have noticed when your blood sugar is too high or too low, your mood suddenly shifts. I know I certainly have. What I didn’t know was what is the link between blood sugar and mood or mental health.

The usual symptoms of low blood sugar are:

  • confusion
  • agression and irritability
  • difficulties concentrating
  • hunger
  • difficulty with coordination and decision-making
  • personality or behavior changes

Some symptoms for high blood sugar are:

  • difficulty thinking clearly and quickly
  • feeling nervous
  • feeling tired/low energy

Fluctuations in your blood glucose can result in rapid mood changes. Low blood glucose readings can cause you to be slightly euphoric. The body compounds this pleasant sensation by releasing adrenaline in an attempt to convert any available glycogen in the liver back into glucose to boost levels in the bloodstream.

There have been some links between diabetes and mental health issues. Scientists have identified a mental health condition in diabetics called diabetes distress. It shares some elements with depression, anxiety, and stress. Most diabetics don’t show severe enough signs to be diagnosed as either depressed, anxious, or stressed but these symptoms can still affect our quality of life.

Did you know that 30 to 40 percent of diabetics are diagnosed with anxiety? Did you know 1 in 4 diabetics have depression and that women are more prone to depression than men? 

If you don’t believe the science, believe the experience. I have been going through anxiety, stress and depression related to my diabetes. How does it manifest? I’m stressed and frustrated that my blood sugar still isn’t within range. It’s more consistently out of range than within range. Because of my high numbers I’ve been getting depressed and overwhelmed that I may never get my diabetes under control. The price of my medications has given me anxiety that I may not be able to afford my insulin and diabetes pills and I have a fear of getting in trouble with a low blood sugar incident in public.

All of these things pile up on my mind and overwhelm me every day, but I’m trying to push forward every day. One day at a time, one hour, and one minute every day at a time.

You may also be feeling these things too. Stressed and powerless when trying to control your condition. Believing you’re not doing a good enough job managing your diabetes.

Maybe you’re anxious about going too high or too low and not being able to recognize when you go low causing a social embarrassment or danger while driving or sleeping. Maybe your rigorous insulin regimen and constant glucose checks could interfere with social interaction or employment.

Please remember, managing your mental health is just as important to your overall health as your diabetes treatment plan.

SOME TIPS FOR COPING

  1. Follow your diabetes treatment plan. Especially when it feels overwhelming, keep taking your medications, keep exercising and eating healthy.
  2. Check your blood sugar regularly. Especially when you feel a mood change, then you can see what causes your irritability and you can correct your sugar level accordingly.
  3. Automate your plan. If your trouble is not taking your medication on time (this could cause insulin distress), setup an alarm for your medication.
  4. Plan your meals. Plan out your meals ahead of time, by the ingredients you need when you need them, prep your ingredients ahead of time, and always have a set meal schedule. Eat healthy and regularly to keep your sugars in check.
  5. Seek out help. This is so important. There are so many resources out there for you to utilize. Go to your doctor, find a diabetes educator, go to a diabetes management class, seek out a therapist, keep a strong support network. If you feel like you have no one to talk to that understands you, you can try reaching out to me.

You are not alone in your diabetic journey. You always have someone to talk to. Take care of yourselves today. Remember to love yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself today. Safe journey and blessed be.

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