Metabolic Health
Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

10 Tips For Managing Diabetes Distress

Diabetes is a difficult to manage and a highly demanding health condition. The regular and ongoing demands of this disease coupled with diabetes complications, emergencies, health problems, and changes in a treatment plan can lead to several emotions. It is this emotional burden of suffering from diabetes and managing it that often causes diabetes distress.

What Is Diabetes Distress?

Diabetes distress is a range of emotions that diabetics have in response to living with and managing the condition. It is a normal reaction to living with diabetes - a common health issue that affects 1/3rd to almost one-half of adolescents. The nature of the disease is such that it can affect not only the diabetic but also their family members. 

As such, feeling frustrated with the burden of managing diabetes is one of the most common diabetes distress symptoms. Apart from this, feeling discouraged or defeated and worrying about the complication progressing or getting severely low are also signs of diabetic distress.

It is essential to take care of diabetes distress symptoms as they start appearing so that the condition does not progress further and become worse.

Diabetes Distress Symptoms

Some of the most common causes of diabetes distress include:

Frustration with Diabetes Management

Most diabetics experience diabetes-related distress due to the amount of hands-on management required by the condition. This includes ongoing obligations of physical activity, diet, medicine, and blood glucose monitoring.


Crucial though less frequently acknowledged stresses for diabetics center around worries of the future, fear of complications, difficulties dealing with potentially intrusive family members and friends, concerns about keeping up with treatment options, new medicines, and associated recommendations.

Unending Self-Management Demands

People with diabetes can feel overwhelmed because of the endless self-management demands of the condition. This can further lead to fatigue, high distress levels, anger, frustration, feelings of depression, and complete burnout. Though there is no proper or wrong way to feel with diabetes, some symptoms can show that things are out of control and lead to diabetic distress.

  • Feeling isolated
  • Frequently choosing unhealthy food options 
  • Feeling annoyed about diabetes and irritated with the demands to manage it regularly
  • Skipping blood sugar checks and appointments
  • Concerned about not taking good care of diabetes but not doing anything about it

Also know about the relation between exercise & diabetes.

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Tips for Coping with Diabetes Distress     

Coping up with diabetes distress syndrome can be easy if you follow the tips below:

  • Acknowledge your feelings - Almost everyone with diabetes feels stressed and frustrated from time to time. But when these feelings become overwhelming and last for more than a week, it signals that you need help to feel better. So, acknowledge your feelings and work on improvising them. 
  • Be honest about your issues - Inform the closest family members and friends about your feelings and emotions regarding your condition. Try to be as honest as possible about the issues you are facing. 
  • Get help wherever and whenever possible - If someone offers to monitor your blood sugar levels or join you for an exercise, allow them to do so. This will be useful in managing the stress related to diabetes.
  • Accept the condition to manage it - It is alright to accept things you cannot change. Do not refuse to accept that you have diabetes. Instead, accept it and learn how to manage the condition as soon as possible. This will help you progress on your journey. 
  • Talk to others suffering from the same condition - Talk to the other diabetics and try to understand the problems they are experiencing. Ask them how they deal with their diabetes-related distress and what has worked for them effectively. This way, you can feel less overwhelmed and isolated.

Also read about the different types of diabetes.

  • List things down - Create a list of things you must do to take care of your condition and work on each activity separately.
  • Go slow with your goals - If you have taken up any physical activity, know that it will not give you desired results overnight. So, have patience and start slow.
  • Take a breather - Take a break between your work or allow some time to do the things you love. This can be calling a friend over, working on a creative project, or playing games with your children.
  • Share your concerns with your doctor - Your doctor, educator, and psychologist should know about your feelings so that they can help you with your concerns and suggest different ways to avoid diabetic distress.
  • Explore government programs for cost-effective medication - If diabetes medicine is costly, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Investigate government programs that can help you with the cost of the medicines. The community health groups also provide programs where diabetes medicines, supplies, and insulin are available for free.

Suffering from diabetes agony for a long time can cause complete burnout. Therefore, identify the signs of this condition early on and access the right kind of diabetes distress treatment.


Diabetes distress and burnout are co-related. If the former is left untreated for a long time, it can lead to diabetes distress and burnout where a person does not feel like doing anything about their diabetes management. So, take care of your diabetes distress syndrome as soon as you identify its symptoms. Take instant action for diabetes distress treatment and stay in constant touch with healthcare providers, family, and friends.


How Common Is Diabetes Distress?

According to 50 studies conducted worldwide, 1 in 4 individuals with type 1 diabetes and 1 in 5 individuals with type 2 diabetes suffer from diabetes distress. This is because they constantly worry about diabetes complications and management.

Why Do Diabetics Get Sleepy?

The blood sugar levels in a diabetic go high when there’s insufficient insulin or when the insulin does not work effectively. Insulin transports blood glucose into the cells, providing us with the energy we need to do things. When insulin does not work effectively or when there’s not sufficient insulin in the blood, blood glucose does not get to the cells. Therefore we do not get the energy we need to carry on with regular activities. That’s the reason why diabetics feel tired and sleepy all the time.

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