Living with a chronic disease increases a person’s risk of developing depression, and type 2 diabetes is no exception. Studies have found that people living with type 2 diabetes are approximately 25% more like to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety.1
Depression is more than just sadness – it is a serious mood disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. Depression can affect a person’s ability or desire to care for their diabetes, and depression is associated with higher blood glucose levels and worse health outcomes among people with type 2 diabetes. Proper treatment for depression is important for a person’s mental and physical health.2
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is characterized as experiencing some of the following symptoms most of the day, nearly everyday, for at least two weeks:
Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities that were previously pleasurable
Appetite or weight changes (either too much or not enough)
Aches or pains without a clear physical cause
Thoughts of death or suicide3
Comparison of treatments for major depression in type 2 diabetes
A recent clinical trial evaluated the effectiveness of talk therapy and exercise on depression among people with type 2 diabetes. The study included 140 adults with diabetes, and participants were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups:
12 weeks of exercise with a person trainer
10 individual talk therapy sessions
12 weeks of concurrent exercise and talk therapy sessions
Compared to those who received usual care, the participants who received exercise training, talk therapy, or both, all showed significant improvements in their symptoms of depression, diabetes-related distress, and quality of life. People who received talk therapy were significantly more likely to be free of major clinical depression symptoms than those in the usual care group. Those who received exercise also showed a reduction in the A1C levels (a measure of blood glucose levels for the past 3 months), compared to those receiving talk therapy or usual care. The findings of this study were significant in proving that exercise, guided by a personal trainer, is effective in treating both depression and type 2 diabetes.4
Nouwen A, Winkley K, Twisk J, et al. Type 2 diabetes mellitus as a risk factor for the onset of depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia 2010;53:2480-6.
American Diabetes Association. Accessed online on 7/12/17 at http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/mental-health/depression.html.
National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed online on 7/12/17 at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/.
PR Newswire. Accessed online on 7/12/17 at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/increased-risk-of-depression-anxiety-and-disordered-eating-for-people-with-diabetespsychosocial-care-is-key-300473296.html.