The rate of depression in people with diabetes is much higher than in the general population. Women experience depression about twice as often as men. The risk of depression increases in women with diabetes.

Many hormonal factors may contribute to the increased rate of depression in women:

  • menstrual cycle changes
  • pregnancy
  • miscarriage
  • postpartum period
  • pre-menopause
  • menopause.

Many women also face additional stresses, such as responsibilities both at work and home, single parenthood, and caring for children and for aging parents.

Previous studies have shown individuals who are insulin-resistant may have higher serotonin concentrations and may be more prone to depression and even suicide. Women with diabetes may be more likely to suffer depression because of the clinical diagnosis.

Types of Depression

Major depression is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities.

  • Dysthymia, a less severe type of depression, involves long-term, chronic symptoms that are not disabling, but keep one from functioning well or feeling good.
  • Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness) is not nearly as prevalent as other forms of depression.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a major depression that occurs in the winter when the amount of sunlight is limited.
  • Postpartum depression occurs within four weeks of childbirth. Most new mothers suffer from some form of the "baby blues."
  • Psychotic depression is a rare form of depression characterized by delusions or hallucinations, such as believing you are someone you are not and hearing voices.

For more information, visit the National Institute of Mental Health.

Coping With DiabetesCoping With Diabetes

Are you depressed or stressed due to your diabetes? If so, then this handbook is your guide to improve your emotional well-being while living with diabetes. This booklet includes a stress assessment questionnaire, tips on recording your glucose and stress level, and tips and other resources to help you cope with the disease.

  • Last Reviewed: August 1, 2013
  • Last Edited: September 12, 2014

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast