Diabetes can affect people in different ways, and while the emotional impact of diabetes may not affect some, it will for others.

Families and friends can be influenced by diabetes, particularly those with a close relationship to somebody recent diagnosed.

Coping with diabetes on a daily basis can be problematic, but there are tips that can help you beat emotional issues such as anxiety and stress that come with diabetes.

Diagnosis of diabetes

If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you may be affected in a number of different ways.

Stages of grief can be common, for the patient as well as their family. Some can find their lives turned upside down adapting to lifestyle changes across diet, medication and physical activity.

Denial is something that can develop in some diabetics, who fail to acknowledge the seriousness of their diabetes. Additionally, studies have shown denial in diabetics tends to result in poorer health and management than in those who accept their diabetes.

Cases of denial can feel individual, but are surprisingly common. If you feel down and dismissive about your diabetes, confronting your feelings is a good start. Acknowledge that you may be struggling to your doctor and they will have ideas as to how you can move forward.

Blood sugar levels

Emotional ups and downs can often result from managing blood sugar levels, especially if you take insulin, sulfonylureas or glinides in which hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a possibility.

Beginning a prescription of these medicines can be scary, with potential short-term complications such as hypoglycemia likely to be worrying for the whole family.

Anxiety regarding low blood sugar is perfectly normal, but most hypos can be quickly resolved very easily by taking 10-15g of fast acting carbohydrate, such as sweets, glucose tablets (three or more) or a sugary drink.

Eventually, hypo symptoms will start to become apparent to the person with diabetes and/or the family. When you can spot these, this will make dealing with hypos, and preventing them from occurring, much easier.

Severe hypoglycemia

Cases of severe hypoglycemia can be scary for those with diabetes and their families, especially in the event of an accidental insulin overdose.

Extremely low blood sugar can cause diabetics to show much more serious symptoms such as convulsions and fitting, which can be disconcerting for family members as well.

In this situation, an ambulance would need to be called, but cases of severe hypoglycemia are rare and hypos can be spotted well before this develops.


Not all people with diabetes develop depression, but diabetics have a higher chance of showing signs of depression.

People struggling to cope with their diabetes can feel alone, especially if they have been finding it hard to keep their blood sugar levels and diet controlled.

Depression can often further affect diabetes control inversely, and a diagnosis of depression is made following continuous symptoms for two weeks, including persistent sadness, feeling helpless, increased fatigue and concentration problems.

Treatment for depression is an individual course, but addressing glycemic control is a good start which can lead to a significant enhancement in life quality.


Treatment courses such as mindfulness can promote positive health, which is an effective technique in reducing depression, stress and anxiety.

Research has shown that mindfulness can help people with deal with the adversity that affects people with or without diabetes and reduce their levels of stress.

Long-term health concerns

It can be relatively common for the families or partners of loved ones with diabetes to be concerned about potential health complications.

Diabetes does increase the risk of developing certain complications, such as stroke and amputation, but good management has been shown to consistently lessen these risks.

Regularly monitoring blood glucose levels, exercising and eating a healthy diet are among the methods that can keep your diabetes controlled.