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Is it depression? Recognize the signs.

For many people, the holidays aren't filled with joy and laughter. A few hectic weeks of parties and family get-togethers can dredge up old feelings of anger, regret, stress or loneliness. It's no wonder that the end of the year makes people feel blue. But is it depression? Here's how to tell.

Are you just sad?
Sadness, grief and anxiety are normal human emotions. Everyone experiences them for brief amounts of time, and eventually we recover. They don't stop the show. Depression is different. It's more intense, and brings you down further and longer.1

Diabetes and depression
There is a strong link between diabetes and depression.1 There's no one reason why, but the combination of stress, frustration, helplessness and many other emotions that come with managing diabetes day to day tend to leave people feeling down.

Signs of depression
According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, a clinical diagnosis of depression would require someone to have at least 5 of these symptoms nearly every day for at least 2 weeks:1

  • Feeling sad or empty most of the day
  • Losing interest or pleasure in almost all activities
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain
  • Decrease or increase in appetite
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling agitated or sluggish
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling worthless or excessively guilty
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, a suicide attempt or plan to commit suicide

Another possibility―diabetes distress
Some doctors believe that, for people with diabetes, what has traditionally be labeled "depression" may actually be a reaction to living with a stressful, complex disease that is often difficult to manage. Instead, the phrase "diabetes distress" may be a more accurate description of what a person is experiencing. It isn't just about terminology, though. This way of thinking may help people with diabetes identify some of the root causes of their distress, such as fears of low blood sugar, and take steps to alleviate their depressive symptoms with their diabetes care team.2

If you need help
Your doctor may not be able to recognize whether you or your child is depressed. If you think that depression might be an issue, please speak up. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional or work with you to address your symptoms. It may feel like a difficult first step, but it's an important step for moving forward.

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