May, 2017

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Diabetes and mood swings: Effects on relationships

Diabetes and mood swings: Effects on relationships

Written by Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN

Diabetes is a condition that impacts the way a person’s body uses sugar for energy. However, diabetes affects much more than blood sugar. It can impact nearly every body system and have an effect on a person’s mood.

Stress associated with managing diabetes as well as concerns about potential side effects can all contribute to changes in mood. In addition, the actual highs and lows of blood sugar levels may also cause nervousness, anxiety, and confusion.

It is important for people to recognize their own individual symptoms of high or low blood sugar. They must also ensure they seek support for any concerning mental health symptoms they might experience.stress and mood swings

Watching these mood swings can often be difficult for friends and family to understand. However, learning why a person may experience mood changes related to diabetes and being supportive can help to promote a stronger, healthier relationship.

How do diabetes and mood swings go together?

Diabetes can have many effects on a person’s mood. For example, managing diabetes can be stressful. A person may be constantly worried about their blood sugar and whether it is too high or too low.

Adjustments to their diet and constantly checking their blood sugar can also add to a person’s stress and enjoyment of life. As a result, they are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression.

Blood sugar swings can cause rapid changes in a person’s mood, such as making them sad and irritable. This is especially true during hypoglycemic episodes, where blood sugar levels dip lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Hyperglycemic episodes where levels spike higher than 250 mg/dL may cause confusion in people with type 1 diabetes, but are much less likely to in those with type 2 diabetes.

When a person’s blood sugar returns to more normal ranges, these symptoms often go away. In fact, changes in mood and mental status can be one of the first signs that someone’s blood sugar levels are not where they should be.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the mental symptoms associated with low blood sugar levels may include:

  • feeling confused
  • feeling anxious
  • having difficulty making decisions

Symptoms that indicate a person may have high blood sugar levels include:

  • difficulty thinking clearly and quickly
  • feeling nervous
  • feeling tired or having low energy

Having diabetes can also cause a mental health condition called diabetes distress. This condition shares some elements of depression, anxiety, and stress.

While a person may not have symptoms severe enough for a doctor to diagnose them with a more severe mental illness, these symptoms can affect the quality of life for a person with diabetes.

An estimated 33 to 50 percent of people with diabetes experience diabetes distress at some point during the course of their disease. The sources of distress can include the responsibilities of managing the condition to worrying about potential complications.

Effect of diabetes on mental health

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for experiencing depression.

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can cause a person to feel hopeless about life, have low bouts of energy, and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. In very severe cases, depression can cause a person to feel as if life is not worth living and even contemplate suicide.

A diabetes diagnosis can also add to a person’s experience with depression. For example, a person who struggles with depression often lacks motivation and energy to engage in healthful behaviors. This could include healthful eating or exercising regularly.

Read full article here…

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Improve Mental Health

A leisurely walk can boost mood, psychological well-being

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Regular exercise is considered key for improving and maintaining physical health. When it comes to psychological health, however, new research suggests that you do not need to hit the gym in order to reap the rewards.

Researchers from the University of Connecticut (UConn) in Mansfield found that simply going for a leisurely walk can improve mood and boost subjective well-being, particularly for adults who are normally sedentary.

Leisure walk for mental healthLead study author Gregory Panza, of the Department of Kinesiology at UConn, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the Journal of Health Psychology.

While a number of studies have shown that physical activity can benefit psychological health, Panza and team note that it remains unclear how the intensity of physical activity impacts subjective well-being, defined as a person’s own evaluation of their lives.

The researchers decided to investigate this association further with their new study, which included 419 healthy, middle-aged adults.

The physical activity of each adult was monitored over 4 days using accelerometers, which participants wore on their hips.

Additionally, subjects completed questionnaires detailing their daily exercise routines, psychological well-being, level of depression, whether they experienced pain and its severity, as well as the extent to which pain disrupted their day-to-day activities.

Light, moderate activity led to greatest improvements in well-being

The researchers found that adults who were sedentary had the lowest levels of subjective well-being and the highest levels of depression, which indicates that lack of physical activity is detrimental to psychological health.

Overall, the team found that people who engaged in physical activity demonstrated greater subjective well-being. However, the benefits of physical activity were found to vary by intensity.

Light-intensity activity, for example, was associated with greater psychological well-being and lower depression, while moderate-intensity activity was linked to higher psychological well-being and reduced pain severity.

Light-intensity activity was defined by the study as a leisurely walk that does not noticeably raise heart rate, breathing, or sweating. Moderate-intensity activity was defined as walking a mile in 15 to 20 minutes, with a slight increase in heart rate, breathing, and sweating.

Notably, the study results revealed that sedentary adults who increased their exercise levels to light or moderate activity demonstrated the greatest increases in subjective well-being.

However, vigorous-intensity activity – defined as jogging or briskly walking a mile in 13 minutes, with very noticeable increases in heart rate, breathing, and sweating – appeared to have no impact on subjective well-being. However, the researchers say that this is not necessarily a bad finding.

“Recent studies had suggested a slightly unsettling link between vigorous activity and subjective well-being,” says study co-author Beth Taylor, associate professor of kinesiology at UConn. “We did not find this in the current study, which is reassuring to individuals who enjoy vigorous activity and may be worried about negative effects.”

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Impact of Childhood Bullying – New Research Finding

Childhood bullying may lead to increased chronic disease risk in adulthood

Being bullied during childhood might have lifelong health effects related to chronic stress exposure – including an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes in adulthood, according to a research review in the March/April issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

Childhood BullyingRecent advances in understanding of the negative health effects of chronic stress highlight a pressing need to clarify the longer-term health implications of childhood bullying, according to the review by Susannah J. Tye, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic and colleagues. “Bullying, as a form of chronic social stress, may have significant health consequences if not addressed early,” Dr. Tye comments. “We encourage child health professionals to assess both the mental and physical health effects of bullying.”

Health Impact of Bullying – What’s the Evidence?

“Once dismissed as an innocuous experience of childhood, bullying is now recognized as having significant psychological effects, particularly with chronic exposure,” Dr. Tye and co-authors write. Bullying has been linked to an increased risk of psychiatric disorders, although there are still questions about the direction of that association.

Bullied children also have increased rates of various physical symptoms – recurrent and unexplained symptoms may be a warning sign of bullying. Dr. Tye comments, “It is important that we appreciate the biological processes linking these psychological and physiological phenomena, including their potential to impact long-term health.”

Studies of other types of chronic stress exposure raise concerns that bullying – “a classic form of chronic social stress” – could have lasting effects on physical health. Any form of continued physical or mental stress can put a strain on the body, leading to increasing “wear and tear.” This process, called allostatic load, reflects the cumulative impact of biological responses to ongoing or repeated stress – for example, the “fight or flight” response.

“When an individual is exposed to brief periods of stress, the body can often effectively cope with the challenge and recover back to baseline,” Dr. Tye explains. “Yet, with chronic stress, this recovery process may not have ample opportunity to occur, and allostatic load can build to a point of overload. In such states of allostatic overload, physiological processes critical to health and well-being can be negatively impacted.”

With increasing allostatic load, chronic stress can lead to changes in inflammatory, hormonal, and metabolic responses. Over time, these physiological alterations can contribute to the development of diseases – including depression, diabetes, and heart disease – as well as progression of psychiatric disorders.

Read full article here…

Take online counseling for your mental health needs.