Depression and Diabetes

Major Depression and diabetes have been shown to co-occur. Major Depression is a psychiatric disorder that affects behavior and has an effect on the body and overall health. Because it’s more difficult for patients to deal with multiple health problems it’s very important that the proper treatments are implemented and carried through when dealing with depression and diabetes.

Depression or Major Depression

Depression is the abbreviated term for Major Depression, a serious mental illness which can disrupt the sufferer’s daily routine and interfere with their quality of life. Of the adult population 18 years and older, in the U.S., about 6.7% suffer from depression.

Identifying Depression – Signs and Symptoms

Continued feelings of the following for at least two weeks:





Being worthless




Tiredness or exhaustion

Has little or no interest in sex.

Has thoughts of suicide and death, or even attempts suicide.

Experiencing difficulty for at least two weeks:

In making decisions

With remembering details

With concentration and focus

In participating in usually enjoyable activities or hobbies

In falling or staying asleep or perhaps sleeping all the time

Controlling food intake, either overeating or having no appetite


In healthy individuals digested food is ultimately used for energy. Diabetes is an illness that impairs the body’s ability to make or use insulin to absorb the glucose (sugar) from the food we’ve digested and use it for energy. Since most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, the main source of fuel for our body and brain, without the ability to be absorbed by insulin, glucose is stored in the blood and do not get converted in to the energy the body needs.

The Link between Depression and Diabetes

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of being depressed and people with depression are at an increased risk of having diabetes. Diabetes exacerbates the symptoms of depression. Managing diabetes day in and day out can be very stressful and the effects that the disease may lead to depression. Statistics show that individuals suffering from diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from major depression compared to individuals without diabetes. Diabetes and depression are inter-related and may cause each other to get worse if left untreated.

Certain symptoms of major depression cause the risk to climb for diabetes or cause the symptoms of diabetes to worsen. For example, overeating leads to increases in weight, which increases the risk for diabetes. Feeling worthless because you are no longer able to do what you used to enjoy because you are tired can cause patients to become apathetic towards their diet and medication, which can cause their diabetes to worsen. People who are both depressed and suffering from diabetes will have an increase in their diabetes symptoms compared to patients who are diabetic and are not suffering from depression.

Treating Depression and Diabetes

Treatments for depression can be very effective and with treatment patients are better able to manage their diabetes and improve their overall health and wellbeing. The most obvious benefit of treating depression is elevated mood and an improvement in blood glucose control. Although treatments for depression are effective, it does take time.  However adhering to treatment for depression and diabetes will have positive consequences.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been proven to be very effective in treating depression and diabetes. Through talk therapy, people are taught how to spot and change their negative thinking which improves their mood, their behavior and their interactions with others. Antidepressants have also been successful in treating depression.  The combination of talk therapy or counseling and medication are the standard first line treatments for major depression and diabetes.

Because our treatment for depression relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods.  The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and otherco-occurring medical conditions such as diabetes.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.