Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar levels to become too high. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, blood glucose levels are too high because the body can’t make a hormone called insulin. When the glucose from the carbohydrate in food is broken down and enters the bloodstream, there’s no insulin to allow it into the body’s cells. More and more glucose then builds up in the bloodstream.
Insulin is released into the body by injecting it or using an insulin pump, which delivers a constant supply into the body. Blood glucose levels also need to be checked regularly, so that they are not too low or too high by using a blood glucose testing device several times a day.
Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, the body is ineffective at using the insulin that’s produced by the pancreas, or the pancreas can’t make enough insulin. Because this insulin can’t work properly, blood glucose levels keep rising – so more insulin is released. There are different ways of treating Type 2 diabetes. Some people can manage it with healthier eating, being more active and losing weight. Other people will need medication to bring their blood glucose down to a safe level.
How we can help
Diabetes and low mood
Living with diabetes can feel really tough – and it might feel at times like you are the only one in this situation or that people don’t understand how difficult it is. Understandably, that might lead you to feel frustrated, isolated or low in mood. It is also common to feel frustrated and resentful about the impact that diabetes might be having on your life, such as needing to change your diet. Over time, some people experience “diabetes burnout”, when they feel exhausted from trying to manage their condition every day over a period of time. This can lead people to feel overwhelmed and defeated by diabetes.
Diabetes and anxiety
It is also common to feel anxious about some aspects of your diabetes at times. Anxiety can often work well for us by springing us into action and making us do helpful things to manage our diabetes, such as such as making changes to our diet or lifestyle. However, anxiety becomes a problem when it begins to interfere with our ability to function in daily life, and leads us to do unhelpful things that may interfere with how we manage our diabetes.
When we feel anxious, we feel wound up, nervous, worried and tense. These feelings can range from a feeling of unease to a continuing sense of dread. Sometimes, it can be so bad that you may feel panicky and frightened. This can, in turn, affect blood sugar levels, as well as the management of diabetes, for example by checking blood sugars more often than we need, or not checking them at all.
What we offer
Living Well with Diabetes course
We offer a course that provides you with everything you need to know in order to live better with your symptoms of diabetes. You will be provided with a lot of contact time with 2-hour sessions, and you can meet others who are going through the same difficulties as you. The course is for six weeks and covers the following:
- Introduction to Diabetes and CBT
- Adjusting to your Diagnosis and Challenging your Thoughts
- Diabetes and Low Mood
- Diabetes and Anxiety
- Coping with Stress
- Sleep and Planning for the Future
We can offer one-to-one support to those with more severe symptoms of diabetes, who might also present with other difficulties that might not be covered in our Living Well with Diabetes course. You might typically start with 6 sessions and your therapist might adjust this where necessary. At your initial assessment, your therapist will decide whether one-to-one support will be beneficial for you using their knowledge and expertise.
Want our support?
You can self-refer by filling out the form on our Refer Yourself page. Alternatively, if you’re unsure, or wish to talk things through a bit more, please speak to your GP or your main diabetes healthcare professional.