Diabetes Distress: The Struggle is Real!

If you’ve seen any of my blog posts before, you know I am a huge believer in the mind-body connection. Both my personal and professional experience have shown me that the way the body feels affects our psychological well-being, and vice versa. In fact, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), fifth edition (which is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States) agrees! The DSM-5 added both Anxiety due to Another Medical Condition, and Depression due to Another Medical Condition in their most recent edition. And thank goodness! The struggle is real!

Past research has found a high correlation between diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, and depression. However, psychologists William Polonsky, Lawrence Fisher, et al have taken a closer look at this relationship and developed the Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS) to measure and describe the specific ways that diabetes can be emotionally overwhelming. The scale addresses four areas of concern: 1) the emotional burden of having diabetes; 2) the relationship a person with diabetes has with his/her physician; 3) the person’s ability to follow the diabetes regimen; 4) and the interpersonal issues that a person with diabetes might face with family and friends. See an article explaining this in more depth here.

Diabetes Distress is not uncommon by any means, and anyone who has diabetes can tell you that it is a full time job with a unique set of stressors. If Diabetes Distress is getting in your way of living a happy, healthy life, you are not alone and there is help available. Seeing a mental health specialist who understands how diabetes affects mood and energy level (among other things) can be incredibly helpful in getting you back on track. I help people rediscover hope and find peace within themselves—even when it seems like their body and their mind are at war. Get in touch today.