Diabetes and Depression - What's the Connection (Continued)
If you think you are depressed, help is available
If you think you are depressed, or even that you might be, please talk to your health care provider.
If you are depressed, medication can help. A colleague of mine, Dr. Patrick Lustman from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is one of the leading researchers on diabetes and depression. He did studies showing that an antidepressant medication (Prozac), and a form of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) were each effective in relieving depression in people with diabetes. Not only that, people whose depression was relieved also had lower A1c levels.
What depression treatment is right for you?
If you are depressed, either medication or counseling could help. Each has its advantages. Medication may be easier to get, while counseling has none of the side effects some people experience with antidepressant drugs. Some people get the most benefit from a combination of medication and counseling. Your health care provider can help you choose the depression treatment that's right for you.
CBT, the type of counseling used in Dr. Lustman's study, is designed to help people identify thoughts that fuel depression, examine these thoughts, and consider other, more positive and often more realistic ones that could contribute to feeling better. For example, telling yourself diabetes is impossible to manage can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since thoughts have a powerful effect on behavior, sometimes minor adjustments in thinking produce big benefits. So telling your diabetes is really hard (but not impossible) to manage could help fuel your motivation for doing all you can.
The benefits of effective depression treatment
Over the years I have had many opportunities to see the remarkable results of effective depression treatment. One woman told me that she had almost forgotten what it was like to feel good. Another patient talked about how much more energy he had – energy he could use to take better care of his diabetes. So if you need help, do something about it today.
Richard Rubin, PhD, CDE, is an Associate Professor in Medicine and in Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. An active member of the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Dr. Rubin has written over 100 articles, books, and book chapters for people with diabetes and for diabetes health care providers. He writes about emotional and behavioral issues related to diabetes for dLife.
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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