Emotional Side Of Diabetes Banner
Diabetes & Health Hub

Emotional Side of Diabetes

All you need to know about diabetes including its signs, causes, risk factors, complications and tips to manage the condition.

Diabetes affects your emotionsboth directly and indirectly

  • Poorly controlled blood sugar can directly affect your emotions by causing behaviour changes and mood swings. When you get diagnosed with any chronic disease like diabetes, you will also most likely experience a wide range of emotions – from denial and anger to stress, grief, and sadness.
  • You might feel overwhelmed with the burden of the condition and the need to continuously manage it. This is called Diabetes Distress and it is completely normal to feel this way.
  • It is also very important to cope with such emotions before they lead to depression and other conditions that can affect your mental health and well-being, and eventually your ability and motivation to self-manage your condition and monitor and control your blood glucose levels.
  • The good news is that there are many ways you can address and deal with the emotional side of diabetes, from simple techniques you can do at home, to making simple lifestyle changes, to seeking help from your healthcare provider if these emotions get in the way of properly managing your illness.
  • Our physicians at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre can help you problem-solve your concerns about diabetes or suggest the proper professional help you may need to manage your emotions.

Depression and Diabetes


There is a wide misconception that all people with diabetes have depression. That is simply not true and, at any given time, most people with diabetes do not have depression. Depression can affect anyone, but if you have diabetes, you have a higher risk if you don’t address it properly.

Icon (1)

Feeling down or sad from time to time is normal, especially if you have diabetes. However, some people experience a prolonged period of sadness and have a feeling of hopelessness that just will not go away. This may be depression and it can get you in a vicious cycle. It can affect all levels of self-care, diet, exercise and other lifestyle aspects, all of which can lead to poor blood sugar control. Poor blood control in turn may cause symptoms that look like depression.

Icon (2)

If this is your case, it is very important you seek your physician’s advice and he or she will help you address your concerns or determine the professional help you may need to get.

Spotting depression & seeking help

Spotting depression is the first step before seeking help. If you have been persistently experiencing low mood and a feeling of sadness and loss of interest that is interfering with your everyday activities for more than two weeks, check for the below symptoms.

If you have three or more of these symptoms, it is time you speak to your physician who will refer you to a professional for treatment:

  • Loss of pleasure
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Change in appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Loss of energy
  • Nervousness
  • Guilt
  • Morning sadness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Anxiety and Diabetes

Icon (3)

One of the many emotions you may feel when you have diabetes are fear and anxiety. You may fear the uncertainty associated with the condition – not knowing very much about it, not knowing what is going to happen next and the complications as a result of having it. In fact, research has consistently uncovered a strong connection between diabetes and anxiety as people with diabetes may become anxious over a variety of things.

Icon (4)

These can include monitoring their glucose levels, weight, and diet, worrying about short-term health complications, such as hypoglycemia, as well as long-term complications such as kidney and heart problems. Some even have needle phobia that make them reluctant to do the finger sticks necessary to check sugar levels.

Icon (5)

Having this feeling of fear and anxiousness is normal. Everyone gets nervous or anxious from time to time, for instance, when going through some difficulty. You can also manage this feeling easily by taking charge of your health and learning about diabetes and how to avoid and postpone its complications.

Icon (6)

For some people however anxiety becomes so frequent, or so forceful, that it begins to take over their lives. Just like depression, when anxiety becomes frequent it can get you in a vicious cycle and interfere with you daily routine and most importantly your diabetes management.

Icon (7)

If you feel this is your case, seek your physician’s advice and he or she will help you address your concerns or determine the professional help you may need to get.

Spotting anxiety & seeking help

Icon (8)

Anxiety can be defined as a fear-based mental state, normally felt as a discomforting emotional state accompanied with physical sensations in the body. If you often feel anxious without reason and your worries disrupt your daily life, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Check for the below symptoms and if you have one or more, do not hesitate to talk to you doctor and diabetes healthcare team who will refer you to a professional for treatment:

  • Panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Sleep problems
  • Not being able to stay calm and still
  • Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles
  • Dizziness


Treatment for anxiety and depression can improve diabetes control, your psychological well-being and quality of life. At Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, we are truly passionate about our work and try our best to create an empathetic therapeutic environment that is non-judgmental and patient-focused.

Our approach is very open, honest and always encourages power-sharing. Our Psychology Clinic specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of a wide range of psychological problems affecting adults, children, adolescents and families.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Couples, family and relationship conflict
  • Emotional and behavioural disorders in Children
  • Emotional and behavioural disorders in Adolescents
  • Learning disorders

Patients & Visitors

  • Insurance Partners
    Insurance Partners

    We partner with multiple
    insurance companies

  • Visit Us
    Location & Operating Hours

    Find locations to HQ and
    all our centers

  • Facilities & Services
    Facilities & Services

    We offer a comprehensive
    range of diabetes and related services.

  • Request An Appointment
    Request Information

    Get In Touch with Us