What to Do When You’re Having Trouble Coping with Diabetes

By Alan L. Rubin

You wouldn’t hesitate to seek help for your physical ailments associated with diabetes, but you may be reluctant to seek help when you can’t adjust psychologically to diabetes.

The problem is that sooner or later your psychological maladjustment will ruin any control that you have over your diabetes. And, of course, you won’t lead a very pleasant life if you’re in a depressed or anxious state all the time. The following symptoms are indicators that you’re past the point of handling your diabetes on your own and may be suffering from depression:

  • You can’t sleep or you sleep too much.

  • You have no energy when you’re awake.

  • You can’t think clearly.

  • You can’t find activities that interest or amuse you.

  • You feel worthless.

  • You have frequent thoughts of suicide.

  • You have no appetite.

  • You find no humor in anything.

If you recognize several of these symptoms in your daily life, you need to get some help. Your sense of hopelessness may include the feeling that no one else can help you — but that’s simply not true. First, go to your primary physician or endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) for advice. He or she may help you to see the need for some short-term or long-term therapy. Well-trained therapists — especially therapists trained to take care of people with diabetes — can see solutions that you can’t see in your current state. You need to find a therapist whom you can trust so that when you’re feeling low you can talk to this person and feel assured that he or she is very interested in your welfare.

Your therapist may decide that you would benefit from medication to treat the anxiety or depression. Currently, many drugs are available that are proven safe and free of side effects. Sometimes a brief period of medication is enough to help you adjust to your diabetes.

You can also find help in a support group. The huge and continually growing number of support groups shows that positive things are happening in these groups. In most support groups, participants share their stories and problems, helping everyone involved cope with their own feelings of isolation, futility, or depression.