Managing Your Diabetes Diagnosis (continued)


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often useful for people with diabetes. It requires you to examine your thoughts about diabetes and your diabetes diagnosis. There are three steps to using CBT is its simplest form:

Step 1: What are the thoughts you notice running through your mind?
Some examples might be:

  • "What have I done to deserve this?"
  • "I can't do this."
  • "I'm a failure because I have diabetes."
  • "Nothing I do can stop diabetes complications."
  • "Why me?"

Step 2: Challenge Your Thoughts
Take each thought in turn and ask yourself some questions about it:

diabetes complications—is there really nothing you can do? Educate yourself through books and Internet resources recommended by your healthcare team. What does the research demonstrate about the likelihood of diabetes complications?

Step 3: Think of an Alternative, Balanced Thought

  • "I may not be able to control whether I develop complications, but I can feel in control of trying my best to keep healthy."
  • "The research shows that those who test their blood are more healthy and less likely to develop long-term complications.
  • "If a friend was feeling this way I'd suggest she phone her diabetes nurse to ask for advice and support."

A diabetes diagnosis is a huge hurdle to contend with. By becoming more mindful of you your experience of how you are coping, you can make diabetes an integrated part of your identity, enabling you to work with it rather than fight against it, which is essential for you healthy and well being.


Dr. Jen Nash is a clinical psychologist who has lived with diabetes for more than 20 years. She runs, an education, therapy and coaching service that supports people with type 1 and 2 to manage the emotional and psychological impact of day to day life with diabetes.

Read Dr. Nash's biography here.

Read more of Dr. Nash's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition. 

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Last Modified Date: January 30, 2014

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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