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Emotional and Mental Health

Shachi says

Some sources of stress are never going to go away, no matter what you do. Having diabetes is one of those. Still, there are ways to reduce the stresses of living with diabetes. Some of us have created psychotherapy practices solely to help people living with diabetes. Diabetes comes with great change and great loss. You lose your way of living, your lifestyle. The loss of one's past lifestyle would be less traumatic if it is addressed and processed out in psychotherapy. It is a very traumatic event in the beginning and the traumas continue while living with it. As time goes on, depression can set in. Whether it is because a person is struggling to manage the day-to-day tasks or a person is dealing with complication, it is best to get emotional help to adjust. Higher levels of anxiety, fear and guilt come along for the ride. In the here and now, diabetes management is like having a second job. If you have ever had 2 full-times jobs you probably can relate to some of the emotional stress and anxiety living with diabetes comes with.Fear sets in even if you have no complications, and for some people, those thoughts become a consistent part of everyday life. This causes problems with relationships and the individual's emotional well-being.Psychotherapists help facilitate growth and change in their clients. So clients with diabetes can find those answers and come to acceptance around living with chronic illness. One of the interesting facts and most problematic is that most people have lived with diabetes for 5 to 15 years. During that time blood sugars rise and the symptoms of high blood sugars start impacting a person’s life long before diagnosis.The symptoms mirror the symptoms found in depression. High blood sugars trigger depression and depression causes poor motivation to control one's diabetes management, in turn causing higher blood sugar. This process is an endless cycle if left alone but support groups can help. Knowing other people in the same situation helps you feel less alone. Making friends in a support group can lighten the burden of diabetes-related stresses. For some people with diabetes, controlling stress with relaxation therapy seems to help, though it is more likely to help people with type 2 diabetes than people with type 1 diabetes. This difference makes sense. People with type 1 diabetes don't make insulin, so stress reduction doesn't have this effect. Some people with type 2 diabetes may also be more sensitive to some of the stress hormones. Relaxing can help by blunting this sensitivity. Another way to relax your body is by moving it through a wide range of motion.Stress blocks the body from releasing insulin in people with type 2 diabetes, so cutting stress may be more helpful for these people. Also,Going to a therapist can help you turn that around. Once you get your depression under control, your blood sugar should follow suit. It's not easy but it is a lot easier with someone to talk to without bias or judgment, and the therapist comes into play. Another way to loosen up is through movement- circling, stretching, and shaking parts of your body. To make this exercise more fun, move with music.Replace bad thoughts with good ones.Each time you notice a bad thought, purposefully think of something that makes you happy or proud. Or memorize a poem, prayer, or quote and use it to replace a bad thought.Whatever method you choose to relax, practice it. Just as it takes weeks or months of practice to learn a new sport, it takes practice to learn relaxation.
Some sources of stress are never going to go away, no matter what you do. Having diabetes is one of those. Still, there are ways to reduce the stresses of living with diabetes. Some of us have created psychotherapy practices solely to help people living with diabetes. Diabetes comes with great change and great loss. You lose your way of living, your lifestyle. The loss of one's past lifestyle... (Read More)
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Why is smoking hard to quit?

Shachi says

Quitting smoking is extremely difficult for many reasons. Here are just 2: 1. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances Nicotine can have a calming, satisfying effect, and the more you smoke, the more your body needs the nicotine to feel normal. 2. Smoking fits into many activities Smoking can be psychologically associated with many things you do every day, such as drinking coffee or alcohol, driving, and talking with friends who smoke. And smoking may be an automatic response to times when you are bored, angry, or upset.
Quitting smoking is extremely difficult for many reasons. Here are just 2: 1. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances Nicotine can have a calming, satisfying effect, and the more you smoke, the more your body needs the nicotine to feel normal. 2. Smoking fits into many activities Smoking can be psychologically associated with many things you do every day, such as drinking coffee or... (Read More)
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Shachi says

Stress results when something causes your body to behave as if it were under attack. Sources of stress can be physical, like injury or illness. Or they can be mental, like problems in your marriage, job, health, or finances. When stress occurs, the body prepares to take action. This preparation is called the fight-or-flight response and leads to elevated levels of many hormones. Their net effect is to make a lot of stored energy — glucose and fat — available to cells. These cells are then primed to help the body get away from danger. With mental stress, the body pumps out hormones to no avail. Neither fighting nor fleeing is any help when the enemy is your own mind. Unfortunately, in people who have diabetes, the fight-or-flight response does not work well. Insulin is not always able to let the extra energy into the cells, so glucose piles up in the blood and thus directly effect blood glucose levels. People under stress also tend not to be very careful about their health. They might tend to drink more alcohol, eat more, exercise less or have other unhealthy ways of dealing with stress. Scientists have studied the effects of stress on glucose levels in animals and people. Diabetic mice under physical or mental stress have elevated glucose levels. The effects in people with type 1 diabetes are more mixed. While most people's glucose levels go up with mental stress, others' glucose levels can go down. In people with type 2 diabetes, mental stress often raises blood glucose levels. Physical stress, such as illness or injury, causes higher blood glucose levels in people with either type of diabetes. It's easy to find out whether mental stress affects your glucose control. Before checking your glucose levels, write down a number rating your mental stress level on a scale of 1 to 10. Then write down your glucose level next to it. After a week or two, look for a pattern. Drawing a graph may help you see trends better. Do high-stress levels often occur with high glucose levels, and low-stress levels with low glucose levels? If so, stress may affect your glucose control.
Stress results when something causes your body to behave as if it were under attack. Sources of stress can be physical, like injury or illness. Or they can be mental, like problems in your marriage, job, health, or finances. When stress occurs, the body prepares to take action. This preparation is called the fight-or-flight response and leads to elevated levels of many hormones. Their net... (Read More)
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Shachi says

Very good question Shanaya. People often hesitate telling others about their diabetes. This can be because of fear of not fitting in, or previous bad experiences with friends and diabetes management. You don’t need to tell the world about your diabetes, but explaining diabetes to a roommate is extremely important for your safety and for your relationship. Your roommate can be the first line of defense when it comes to managing extreme hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. It’s also crucial to be open about your diabetes and to explain the day-to-day management of diabetes, so your roommate feels comfortable. Be frank and honest from the start, so you both feel at ease with the situation. You can begin by explaining that diabetes is a manageable condition that is not inhibiting or dangerous unless you don’t properly care for it. It’s also important to demonstrate how you check your blood glucose, how you administer your insulin, and when you do it, so your roommate won’t be shocked. Other important things about diabetes to go over with your roommate include meal planning, differences between low and high blood glucose, and when and how to administer hypoglycemia treatment, and give her your emergency contact list. Encourage and answer questions your roommate might have about diabetes, so that you both feel comfortable and can create a supportive relationship in your new living environment.
Very good question Shanaya. People often hesitate telling others about their diabetes. This can be because of fear of not fitting in, or previous bad experiences with friends and diabetes management. You don’t need to tell the world about your diabetes, but explaining diabetes to a roommate is extremely important for your safety and for your relationship. Your roommate can be the first line of... (Read More)
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Shachi says

With any chronic disease, accepting the changes that will be needed for management can be very difficult. With diabetes, it can be harder, because the behavioral and lifestyle changes you have to make affect a lot of different areas of your life. Why People Deny their Diabetes Management is because diabetes can be very overwhelming. Lifestyle changes involve understanding the diabetes disease process, nutritional management, physical activity, medications, glucose monitoring, psychosocial adjustment, and more. Strategies for diabetes management and care are a part of all aspects of your everyday life. People with diabetes may not be ready to face the reality of their diabetes and fear the risks and complications involved with diabetes, so they avoid healthcare and don’t follow the proper means for diabetes management. In addition, signs of high blood glucose can be subtle, so some find it easier to ignore their diabetes and say “I’m doing fine” or “My body is fine.” Signs that you are denying your diabetes, or not managing your diabetes in the right way, can include: burnout, frustration, feeling overwhelmed, disengaging from your health care team, or not practicing recommended diabetes care on a regular basis. If you recognize any of these signs, it’s very important that you share your fears and concerns with your health care provider. Work with your doctor on the areas in your diabetes management that you’re already doing, and from there you can take gradual steps to improve your diabetes management. It is more important to have a realistic sense of the risks involved with diabetes and to come to terms with how you can improve your diabetes, than to believe that perfection is the goal.
With any chronic disease, accepting the changes that will be needed for management can be very difficult. With diabetes, it can be harder, because the behavioral and lifestyle changes you have to make affect a lot of different areas of your life. Why People Deny their Diabetes Management is because diabetes can be very overwhelming. Lifestyle changes involve understanding the diabetes disease... (Read More)
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