Do you know the contributing factors to diabetes and depression?

Do you know the contributing factors to diabetes and depression?

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People with diabetes can be three times as likely to have depression.1 At the same time, depression may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

So what’s the link between diabetes and depression?

Table of contents

  1. Contributing Factors
  2. What You Can Do
  3. Sources

Contributing Factors

Researchers don’t have a complete picture just yet. But studies have identified some important
pieces to the puzzle.

One of those is chemistry. Changes in the brain related to diabetes — such as damage to
nerves or blood vessels — may contribute to the onset of depression.3

Then, there are the everyday challenges of managing diabetes. Checking your blood sugar. Taking medications. Watching what you eat. Staying active. Maintaining a healthy weight. It can simply feel overwhelming at times. And stress can lead to symptoms of depression.

On the other side of things, depression can make it harder to manage diabetes: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Common symptoms of depression such as insomnia, loss of appetite or lack of energy can lead to poor lifestyle decisions.

Stress, unhealthy eating, not getting enough exercise, smoking and weight gain are all risk factors for diabetes.

What You Can Do

For people with diabetes, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, you can effectively treat diabetes and depression together.

The first step is recognizing the risk. If you’re dealing with symptoms of depression, talk to your doctor. Your healthcare team should include mental health professionals with experience in diabetes who can help make the right diagnosis.

Treatment usually involves a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. You won’t see a change overnight. But getting help will make a difference — both in managing diabetes and in your quality of life.


  1. Badescu, SV et al. The association between diabetes mellitus and depression. J Med Life. 2016 Apr-Jun; 9(2): 120–125.
  2. Pan, An, et al. Bidirectional association between depression and type 2 diabetes in women. Arch Intern Med. 2010 Nov 22; 170(21): 1884–1891.
  3. Nouwen, et al. Longitudinal associations between depression and diabetes complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabet Med. 2019 Dec; 36(12): 1562–1572.
  4. on/faq-20057904

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