As the holidays approach, and the season’s expectations and demands draw near, it is not uncommon for some, especially older adults, to catch a case of the “holiday blues.”

Patricia Glasrud

However, it’s important to know when those feelings are evidence of a more serious problem and how other conditions, like diabetes, can be linked with depression. Since November is National Diabetes Awareness month, it presents an ideal opportunity to learn how diabetes and depression can go hand in hand.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that diabetics have a higher rate of depression than the general population.

This is critical in a state like New Mexico, where diabetes is so prevalent that it rises to the level of an epidemic, according to the ADA: Approximately 200,548 people in New Mexico, or 12.3 percent of the adult population, have diagnosed diabetes; an additional 53,000 people in New Mexico have diabetes but don’t know it, greatly increasing their health risk.

Older adults can also be more susceptible to depression because of increased loneliness associated with being socially isolated. Unfortunately, when depression co-occurs with other illnesses, such as diabetes, it can often go unnoticed.

About half of people living with diabetes in the U.S. experience mental health challenges, according to the ADA, so checking for common symptoms is important.

These include:

  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nervousness, guilt or sadness
  • Difficulty sleeping or change in sleep quality

The holidays can be a stressful time.

When that stress isn’t managed properly, it can have damaging consequences on our health. Talk to your doctor to find out more about the links between diabetes and depression, and take the necessary steps toward healthy living.