Multiple emotions and factors present themselves once a diagnosis of diabetes is made. They include stress, anger, disbelief, depression and anxiety. It is necessary to cope with them with proven evidence-based strategies, instead of self-soothing with substance use, overeating, under eating and withdrawing from social life.
It is seen after diagnosis of diabetes that
- Patients experience anger from the diagnosis. This leads to buildup of stress hormones and unacceptable behaviour.
- Patients experience stress. Stress of the disease lead to forgetfulness and absent mindedness. As a result people with diabetes suffering from stress may not take good care of themselves. They may drink more alcohol and/or exercise less. They may forget, or not have time, to check their glucose levels or plan good meals.
- Stress hormones released in patients from stress, also alters blood glucose levels directly.
Thus subject matter experts believe that diabetes and mental health are inexorably interlinked. Half of the battle with diabetes is about mental health and the other half is about physical health. If we take care of mental health, we will have the skills and attitude to tackle the physical health part too.
Psychologists can help diabetes patients with anger management skills to help them cope with the feelings of disbelief and anger at the diagnosis and also cope with the daily stress brought about by the lifestyle changes required because of diabetes.
Psychologists can also help in learning positive coping methods to deal with stress. Finally they can be instrumental in ensuring that you implementing the learning from the sessions in your life.