Sun | May 24, 2020

Medical Associates on Call | ‘Does diabetes cause depression or vice versa?’

Published:Tuesday | August 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Dear Dr Phillips,

I am a 32-year-old mom of three and a diabetic. I was diagnosed with the disease some time last year after starting a new job and being asked to perform a medical.

Initially, with family support and an improved diet, I thought this was something I could manage, but of late, I have been feeling very much 'out of it'.

I am unusually sad for extended periods of time, sometimes I am unable to sleep and I have no interest in doing even the things I used to enjoy most. It is almost as if I am mentally throwing in the towel and my fear is that this will begin to take a toll on me physically. Is this normal for people with my condition? If so, how can I manage this?


- Sad Mom

Dear Sad Mom,

Thank you for sharing your story. Based on the symptoms you describe, you should be screened by a doctor for depression. I note that you were recently diagnosed with diabetes, which in itself can be quite challenging for anyone to deal with.

It is important to note that a significant number of persons with diabetes suffer from depression. There are many reasons for this, and it is not always clear if it is the diabetes itself causing depression or vice versa.

Either way, you need to seek medical attention for this. It is also important that you ensure your diabetes is well evaluated and controlled. Diet and exercise are extremely important in this regard, and exercise itself has been shown to improve mood.

It is good that you have a strong family support as this also has been shown to help in challenging times like this.

I wish you all the best and would like to encourage you to take care of yourself because with good management diabetics can live a long and healthy life.

- Doc


- Depression is characterised by persistent sadness or anxiety, restlessness, lower energy and increased fatigue as well as feeling helpless and powerless to change your situation.

- According to the American Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, people who are diagnosed with a chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease are three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than people without these illnesses.

- If left unaddressed, research has shown that additional complications could arise as a result of depression being co-morbid with diabetes.

- Dr Karen Phillips is the endocrinologist and specialist consultant administering at the Medical Associates Hospital and Health Center.

- Let the professionals advise you! Call in for your check up by sending an email to: