Dealing with diseases and chronic conditions can be difficult enough, and when your mental health is not in a good place, it is easy to become overwhelmed and that ultimately will impact your physical health. Juggling your job, daily life, relationships, and hobbies can be exhausting and managing chronic health conditions on top of it may seem downright impossible at times. According to the CDC, people with diabetes are two to three times more likely to develop depression than those without the disease; however, only 25-50 percent of those with depression will actually get diagnosed and seek out treatment.
Here are some ways to recognize changes in your mental health and how to address them while also treating your diabetes.
Be aware of mental illness symptoms
Science has proven that there is a correlation between the mind and the body. Stress is a normal part of our lives – whether you’re maxed out at work, having family issues, or dealing with personal health issues – it can manifest in many ways. If left unmanaged, it can ultimately lead to health problems or make any existing ones worse. You may find that you aren’t taking care of yourself as you usually would, which can develop into anxiety and/or depression.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression to be aware of include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleeping problems – whether it is trouble staying or falling asleep or sleeping too much
- Chronic exhaustion
- Losing interest in activities you were previously passionate about
- Intense feelings of fear, worry, guilt, and sadness
- Excessive drug and alcohol use
- Sudden lifestyle changes – altering eating and activity habits
If you can relate to one or more of these symptoms, there are steps you can take to address them. To start, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. They can help you find an in-network behavioral health specialist that can determine the best way to manage your mental health, whether it’s through therapy, adding mindfulness practices into your daily routine, or – in some cases – through medication.
When you make your mental health a priority, you will find that you are in a better place to manage your chronic condition. Managing your mental health is a lot like managing diabetes, you need to continue to monitor it over time and adjust your care plan to what your body needs at that moment. Just like diabetes, your mental health may spike and drop over time. However, if you are aware of the symptoms and have a care routine in place, you will be better equipped to take care of your mental health while still taking care of your diabetes.
Stay on top of your diabetes care
With approximately 1 in 10 Americans currently living with diabetes, experts have found a number of lifestyle changes you can incorporate to help better manage your condition, in addition to your recommended treatment from your physician. It may seem daunting to integrate a number of changes into the life you’re accustomed to living, however, there are small, actionable steps you can take to successfully manage your diabetes and overall health and wellbeing.
By slowly merging the following into daily life, you are sure to keep your diabetes in check:
- Healthy eating. Fill your plate up with non-starchy veggies or lean cuts of meat, and avoid sugary drinks or salty foods.
- Participating in physical activity, such as daily walks or bike rides, YouTube workouts, or even taking advantage of Priority Health’s fitness courts.
- Managing blood sugar levels.
- Taking your medication as prescribed by your doctors.
- Attending your annual physicals.
- Leaning on your support system for mental and physical encouragement, whether you just need to talk to someone or have a friend join you for an exercise session.
Taking care of your physical health helps improve your mental health (and vice versa). Managing diabetes can be a challenge, but maintaining your mental health can help you stay on track with your care plan. Priority Health offers resources, such as the care management team which helps manage chronic conditions at no additional cost and myStrength, and other tools through the Behavior Health team, which can be reached at 800.673.8043 to discuss coverage or help you find an in-network mental health specialist.