Diabetes is a disease that requires continuous management and fine-tuning day in and day out. On a day-to-day basis, much of this work is done without the oversight of your physician. While you may see your doctor every 3 months for follow up, the self-management required in between those visits can become tiresome. All of this can lead to diabetes burnout. Which if not managed may lead to depression, increasing mortality risk.
What is diabetes burnout?
William H. Polonsky, a psychologist and certified diabetes educator (CDE), defines diabetes burnout out as, “what happens when you feel overwhelmed by diabetes and by the frustrating burden of diabetes self-care.”
What are the signs of diabetes burnout?
- Feeling burdened by diabetes
- Feeling angry
- Feeling that diabetes controls your life
- Feeling isolated
- Feeling that you are not getting the support you need
- Feelings of guilt
- Feeling annoyed that your diabetes management is not perfect
- Aspects of your diabetes self management are no longer consistently being done (i.e. not checking your blood sugar as recommended or not counting carbohydrates at meals)
Diabetes burnout can become a serious problem as it may result in you not taking care yourself, which can ultimately lead to a deterioration in your diabetes control.
What can you do to manage and/or prevent diabetes burnout?
Stop labeling blood sugars as “good” or “bad”
- Treat blood sugar readings as data. This data helps you understand how things such as diet and exercise impact your blood sugar on a day-to-day basis. It also helps your health care provider make treatment decisions.
- If you are going to label blood sugar readings, label blood sugars as “in range” or “out of range”.
Stop aiming for perfectionism
- Take some pressure off of yourself and realize that aiming for perfectionism will often lead to more frustration and disappointment.
- There are many variables that can impact your diabetes control; some are within your control and some that are not.
- Pat yourself on the back for all that you do each day to manage your diabetes.
- Celebrate all of your efforts to manage your diabetes, even if the outcome does not always result in a blood sugar reading that is “in range”.
Get the support you need
- Support can come for many places: family, friends, local support groups, and/or a place of worship.Family and friends may find this article helpful
- For help finding support groups contact your local ADA (American Diabetes Association) office
- Participate in a community event
- To learn about events in your area check out the events calendar from the ADA
- In some cases speaking with a therapist may be beneficial. Ask your doctor if they have a list of counselors they refer patients to.
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