Annika Haffke – 5 min. Reading time
Just a moment ago there was sunshine, but suddenly thick clouds or whole thunderstorms are moving in. Depressed mood, anxiety, irritability, and even aggressiveness: People with diabetes often experience roller coaster moods. Not only the person itself, but also its environment can be very stressful. Why diabetes and mood swings are connected and which 5 tips you can use to ensure more stability, we will tell you in this article.
From sugar highs to mood lows
Contrary to what one might think at first glance, blood sugar has an impact not only on physical well-being, but also on psychological well-being.
If the blood sugar fluctuates, the mood can also fluctuate.
Too low a blood sugar level (a so-called Hypoglycemia) can manifest itself in the form of nervousness, inner restlessness, feelings of anxiety or irritability. In the case of a pronounced sugar deficiency, even temporary changes in character such as sudden aggressiveness or silliness may occur.
But not only too low, but also too high blood glucose levels can lead to mood swings with diabetes. Sudden tiredness, fatigue or listlessness can be signs of such hyperglycemia (Hyperglycemia) be.
Stress and diabetes
Stress and the strain of diabetes can also contribute to mood swings. With a diagnosis of diabetes, there are suddenly many things to keep in mind: You have to keep an eye on your blood glucose levels, keep your doctor's appointments, change your diet and change your lifestyle. This can contribute to stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Increased stress in turn affects blood sugar levels. Makes the mood fluctuate more.
Diabetes: mood swings with depression
Dejection, listlessness, hopelessness or a feeling of inner emptiness. Such mood swings in diabetes may not only be the result of unfavorable blood glucose levels or stress, but also signs of depression.
People with diabetes are twice as likely to be affected by depression as metabolically healthy people.
The two diseases influence each other. On the one hand, stresses caused by diabetes can have an impact on the psyche, contribute to a feeling of low spirits and thus promote depression. On the other hand, depression can make it difficult to cope well with the physical illness (z.B. regular blood glucose monitoring, doctor's visits, exercise) more difficult.
5 Tips for diabetes with mood swings
Knowing how diabetes and mood swings are related is an important first step. If you know the cause of your mood swings, you can deal with them better. We've put together 5 tips for you.
1 Avoid blood glucose fluctuations
If fluctuating sugar levels are behind your changing emotional states, good blood sugar control is key. By measuring your blood glucose regularly, you can get a feel for how the level changes throughout the day.
Create a kind of diary in which you record your mood changes in addition to your blood glucose levels. In this way, correlations become more visible.
In addition to exercise and a balanced diet, good medication is one of the most important pillars of stabilizing blood glucose levels. To prevent and respond to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, it's a good idea to have your "emergency medication" (z.B. insulin injections) and "fast carbohydrates" (z.B. To have with you in the form of glucose). By keeping an eye on your blood sugar level and stabilizing it, the mood swings associated with diabetes will also decrease.
2 Addressing mood swings in diabetes
Talking to your doctor about stresses, worries, or feelings can be difficult. But if your primary care doctor or diabetologist also knows about your mood swings, he or she can better support you. If fluctuating blood glucose levels are the trigger in your case, better blood glucose control can already provide relief. If your fluctuations are an expression of stress or depressive symptoms, your doctor can also help you here and support you in finding the right treatment.
Keep in mind that your health care provider is bound to confidentiality. That is, everything you discuss, he or she must keep to himself or herself.
3 Involving the social environment
It can also be useful to talk to those around you about your concerns around diabetes, mood swings, and how to manage them well. Finally, sudden irritability or changes in feelings can also be stressful for your family or in your partnership.
For example, many people with diabetes do not recognize acute hypoglycemia and then react aggressively when another person tells them about it. It is only understandable that those around you are worried in such a situation and want to convince you that z.B. Take glucose with you.
Discuss in advance what behavior you would like to see in these moments. On these agreements your surrounding field can refer then. Behavior does not have to be renegotiated at or after every hypoglycemia episode.
4 Reduce stress
If you notice that especially stress and strain caused by diabetes lead to mood swings in you, try to reduce stress. Of course, this is easier said than done. After all, blood glucose monitoring, medical examinations or dietary changes cannot simply be "left out". Sometimes, therefore, it can seem as if diabetes is the center of your life, your partnership, and your thoughts. You may realize, however, that diabetes doesn't have to fill your entire life.
Try to consciously take time for what is important to you in life and bring it back into focus.
For example, what do you like to do with your partner or spouse? Which hobby you might have neglected? How to calm down or relax? For more tips to reduce stress, check out our blog article, 5 Tips to Combat Stress.
5 Get support
If the mood swings persist despite good blood glucose control and are bothering you, get help. Psychotherapy may also be useful for depressive symptoms. You can read about how to find a psychotherapy place and how psychotherapy works in our articles on these topics.
Another way to reduce depressive symptoms and relieve stress is our HelloBetter online therapy course "Diabetes and Depression". In 6 course units, you will learn effective strategies to improve your mood and increase your quality of life. According to your needs, you can also learn in additional modules, for example, how to build healthy eating habits or strengthen your partnership. And best of all, you can get a prescription for the course free of charge. If you are interested, feel free to check out our Diabetes and Depression course page.