Depression Diagnosis

The signs and symptoms of depression and high blood sugar can often overlap. Tell your mental health professional you have diabetes and describe your symptoms.

depression anxiety diabetes

Mental health professionals (MHP), like a licensed clinical social worker, licensed psychologist, or a psychiatrist are medical professionals who can diagnosis depression.

In diagnosing depression in an individual with diabetes, it is important that the client/patient advocate for him or herself by telling the MHP evaluating them that they have diabetes. Don't wait to be asked, be honest with them and upfront, tell them if your blood sugars are out of control .

If your psychotherapist or psychiatrist is unfamiliar with the symptoms of high blood sugar, inform them what happens to you when your blood sugar is high. If your mental heath professional is still unsure about the impact of blood sugars, refer them to speak with your certified diabetes educator or endocrinologist.

All this will help the MHP rule out that your blood sugar control isn't the cause of the depression. The American Diabetes Association also has published guidelines for dealing with depression.

Depression Assessment

The initial assessment is performed by an MHP and it should evaluate all aspects of an individual's life, which assists in the diagnostic process, to rule out other possible causes: drug use, medications or other medical conditions.1 This is called a differential diagnosis.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) is the primary source in diagnosing mental health disorders.2 It is used to rule out symptoms, and other criteria like the length of time symptoms need to be present to diagnosis.

Symptoms of Depression

The symptoms of depression are vast, but the issue is not the complexity of the symptoms but the similarity of the high blood glucose symptoms. Keeping blood sugars under control during the evaluation period is important when evaluating depression.

Symptoms of major depressive disorder2 and high blood glucose:

  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Weight loss
  • Increase or decrease of appetite
  • Hypersomnia (excessive sleep) or Insomnia (trouble falling/staying asleep)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Self-blame/guilt

Other symptoms of major depressive disorder:

  • Weight gain
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation or suicide attempts

Other symptoms of high blood glucose:

  • Dehydration
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased thirst and frequent urination

If you have diabetes and believe you might be depressed, contact a mental health professional like a licensed clinical social worker, licensed psychologist, or a psychiatrist, as soon as possible.


Updated on: October 4, 2018
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