Depression is hard to get a handle on in the best of situations. But men with diabetes are hit especially hard. For reasons researchers have not pinpointed, those with diabetes have a greater risk of depression than those who are not diabetic. This isn't about the occasional "slump" or sadness. If you're feeling depressed for more than two weeks at a stretch, this is sign of clinical depression and you must seek help.
Why are You Depressed?
According to the American Diabetes Association, spotting depression is the first step followed closely by getting help. It's important to understand what's causing your depression and get help. The ADA has identified the following:
- The stress of managing your diabetes on a daily basis can build. You may feel alone or alienated from your friends and family because of all this extra work.
- If you face diabetes complications such as nerve damage, or if you are having trouble keeping your blood sugar levels where you'd like, you may feel like you're losing control of your diabetes.
- Sexual dysfunction can lead to depression. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control erection. So even if you have a strong desire for sex, you still might not be able to keep a firm erection, causing feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
- Even disagreements with your health-care team about how you should manage your diabetes can also lead to frustration and sadness.
- Also, a diabetes management plan that's off kilter can lead to symptoms that resemble depression. High or low blood sugar may make you feel tired or anxious; low blood sugar levels can also lead to hunger and eating too much. During the night, low blood sugar can make you restless while high blood sugar can cause frequent urination and daytime drowsiness.
Take depression seriously. See your doctor; there also could be a physical problem causing your depression. If you rule out physical causes, your doctor will most likely refer you to a specialist. You might talk with a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, licensed clinical social worker, or professional counselor.