Most people think of diabetes as a physical condition, but its impact goes far beyond what’s felt in the body—it can affect your mental health in profound ways, too.
People with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes. They're also 20% more likely to experience anxiety at some point in their lives. These facts aren’t surprising when you consider how stressful managing diabetes can be on a daily basis. From monitoring blood sugar to taking medications to maintaining a special diet, it’s a lot to handle.
If you’re living with diabetes and struggling with your mental health, we want to assure you that you’re not alone and you won’t feel like this forever.
Wherever you are on your journey and whatever you might be feeling today, you’ll find a diabetes and mental health resource that can help you on this page.
Investing in your mental health can improve your physical health and help you live a more peaceful, joyful life. The mind-body connection is powerful and we’ve spent years building up this library of diabetes and mental health resources to help you harness its power.
While One Drop coaches can support changes in your emotional well-being, they cannot diagnose and/or treat mental health conditions. If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please visit the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, call 988, or text 741741.
People living with diabetes can make up to an astonishing 180 more decisions per day than someone who doesn’t live with the condition. This means you could be making a health-related decision every eight minutes. It’s a lot. Diabetes burnout happens when all this decision-making starts to feel futile and you fall into unhealthy habits. It’s a common—even normal—part of life with diabetes. But with the right tools and support, it’s possible to move through diabetes burnout and get back on steady ground.
Self-care means making time to do the activities that help you improve your physical health, tend to your mental health, and nourish your spirit. In our busy modern lives, self-care often falls by the wayside. But prioritizing self-care isn’t selfish; it’s an act of love not only for yourself, but for your loved ones. When you take care of yourself, you can be more present for your family, friends, and colleagues. The resources in this section will inspire you to take a few moments for yourself to reset, relax, and recharge.
Owning Your Health Story
Your health story is made up of all the milestones, triumphs, and challenges that you’ve experienced in your life until now. Often when we’re on a health journey, we get hung up on the latest setback and lose sight of the bigger picture. By defining your health story—including where you want it to end—you can take back your power and stay focused on your goals, letting the little bumps in the road stay little.
The key to making long-term changes for our health is forming healthy habits. Too often we rely on willpower alone to resist short-term temptations in favor of long-term goals, but willpower is a finite resource that gets depleted throughout the day. Habits can help us automate our behavior, so that when we’re faced with choosing between a five-minute social media scroll or a five-minute walk outside, it’s not really a choice at all—we just take the walk. In the following resources, we take a deep dive into the science of habit formation, giving you tips, tricks, and methods for creating long-lasting healthy habits.
Emotional Eating and Body Image
We’ve all been there—we’re feeling anxious or sad and start reaching for cookie after cookie to comfort ourselves. Using food to deal with our feelings is called emotional eating and when it’s done a lot, it can have a big impact on our physical and mental health. If you struggle with emotional eating or a negative body image, you’re not alone. Check out the following resources to understand the science behind emotional eating and get tips on developing a healthy relationship with food and your body.
One of the best actions you can take for your mental health is to seek the support of a licensed mental health professional. Different therapists use different techniques to help you through the ups and downs of diabetes, so having an idea of how a potential therapist would work with you can help you decide if they’re a good fit. Check out our articles on therapeutic approaches and connect with your One Drop clinical health coach for their thoughts on which approach might be best for you.
When you live with diabetes, you may feel like you have to strive for perfection when managing your blood sugar, but this can take a toll on your mental health, leaving you feeling frustrated and defeated. The following resources explore the emotional impact of perfectionism and offer tips to help you break free from perfectionist thinking and find a more balanced way of approaching your health.
If you’ve ever seen your blood sugar spike when you’re particularly stressed out, you’ve seen the mind-body connection firsthand. What we feel in our body can influence our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and what we think, feel, and believe also impacts our physical health. Mindfulness can help you notice your thoughts and beliefs without letting them take control. Our mindfulness resources will help you move through unpleasant feelings and come out stronger and more peaceful.
Relationships and Community
One of the scientifically proven ways to decrease emotional distress when you’re living with diabetes is to have plenty of social support. Feeling supported on your health journey can also help you stick with your treatment plan, which can lead to better overall health outcomes in the long run. Check out our resources on strengthening your community, how diabetes can affect relationships, and the power of support in chronic condition management.
This article has been clinically reviewed by Hanna Rifkin, RD, CDCES, clinical health coach at One Drop.