Diabetes & Depression – Tests, Symptoms, Signs, Treatment, Therapies

A diabetic patient has increased levels of blood glucose due to lack of sufficient insulin production.

It is a very common disease that affects large number of people in general population.

A diabetic patient has to manage diabetes everyday and it leads to stress. Eventually it may contribute to depression in individuals.

As per recently concluded studies; Diabetes is linked with depression. The diabetic patients are more prone to depression as compared to normal individuals. Also, the severity of diabetic symptoms is more pronounced in depressed patients in comparison to normal diabetic patients.

How depression is related to diabetes?

It is still not clear if diabetes leads to depression or depression increases the possibility of diabetes.

Diabetes can cause worsening of the symptoms in depressed patients. It’s very challenging to manage diabetes on a daily level. Patient has to maintain strict dietary habits and take regular insulin injections/medications.

On other hand, depression cause profound effect on physical and mental health of patients. Thus, depression may lead to worsening of diabetic symptoms and also increases the risk of diabetes.

Depressed patients tend to feel sad and may overlook the restricted diet regimen or medications.

It puts them at risk of facing severe diabetic symptoms.

Diagnostic Tests for Depression in diabetic patients

Psychiatrists may perform complete physical examination of the depressed patients who have diabetes. Patient is asked various questions associated with his/her lifestyle and symptoms to ascertain the exact reason of depression.

  • Physical Assessment
  • Thorough evaluation of symptoms
  • Standardized questionnaires

Some tests are performed for ruling out other diseases.

  • Blood tests
  • Basic electrolytes and serum calcium for ruling out metabolic disturbances
  • Full blood count including ESR for ruling out a systemic infection

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in diabetic patients

  • Feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness or sadness
  • Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions
  • Feeling irritable or restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Increasing intake of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco
  • Getting tired frequently/Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite or increased appetite
  • Suicidal tendency

Treatment of depression in people who have cancer

The treatment of depression in diabetic patients is multi-fold in approach. In addition to standard treatment (Antidepressant medications and Psychotherapy); psychiatrists uses various other alternative therapies for obtaining the desired results.

Diabetic patients who are treated for depression find it easy to manage their diabetes. With the improvement in the symptoms of depression, patients experience elevated mood levels and better blood glucose control.

There is wide range of antidepressants available in the market. Psychiatrist needs to select the antidepressant cautiously as many antidepressants cause various side effects.

Depending on the condition of the patient, doctors choose antidepressant with maximum benefits and minimum side effects.

Common Treatment Therapies

  • Medications like antidepressants and antipsychotic medication

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)


Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)



  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy/ Psychotherapy/ or talk therapy
  • Physical exercise
  • Support from families/friends