Coping with Diabetes Distress

  • author name Gabrielle Nichisti, RD, LDN
Man coping with stress

Diabetes distress (DD) refers to all the fears and worries that people with diabetes experience on a daily basis. Fear of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), disappointment due to hyperglycemia (high sugar), or being scared of long-term complications are just a few examples. According to the CDC, roughly 33-50% of people with diabetes have diabetes distress and are 2-3 times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes. Unfortunately, only 25-50% of people who have depression are diagnosed and treated. 

Destigmatizing Mental Health

This is likely due to the stigma that surrounds mental health. So, let’s think this through from a different angle.

When you have a sore throat, you most likely go to the doctor for medication. When you are experiencing chest pains, you’re probably going to go to the ER.  No one is going to think you’re weak, right?

However, when most people feel they are struggling mentally, they think it’s something they can simply “power through.” When our brain, one of the most important organs in our body, is not working at its best, we try to ignore it. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Reach Out for Help

If you feel you are struggling with Diabetes Distress, it’s time to reach out for help. Diabetes Distress will not only affect your mental well-being, it will also affect your ability to take care of your physical well-being. Over time, distress takes a toll on your body.

Ways to Battle DD

  1. Seek help from a medical professional. Unbiased guidance can help you think through your struggles more rationally.
  2. Join a support group—either online or in person. Talking with others who are going through the same struggles may help you feel less alone and find some solutions.
  3. Eat right and exercise. Study after study shows that eating healthy meals and exercising help decrease stress and depression.
  4. Forgive yourself. Having one high blood sugar is not the end of the world. No one expects perfection and neither should you.
  5. Talk to your primary care provider or endocrinologist. If your diabetes routine is too difficult or costly, talk with your provider to see if you can simplify your routine.

Just remember, if you think you are suffering from Diabetes Distress, you are not alone and help is available. It’s time to speak up!

author name

Gabrielle Nichisti, RD, LDN

Gabrielle Nichisti, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian with the Diabetes and Nutrition Center at Lancaster General Health.

Education: A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, Nichisti values both education and counseling to connect with her patients. Passionate about leading an enjoyable, healthy lifestyle, Nichisti strives to help others overcome obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Call: 717-544-5923

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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