Our Review Process
Our articles undergo extensive medical review by board-certified practitioners to confirm that all factual inferences with respect to medical conditions, symptoms, treatments, and protocols are legitimate, canonical, and adhere to current guidelines and the latest discoveries. Read more.
Our Editorial Team
Shifa Fatima, MSc.
Dr. Apoorva T, MHM.
Does Diabetes cause Mood Swings?
A person with high blood sugar levels will likely experience hyperglycemic mood swings. In fact, it is rare for a person with diabetes not to have bouts of extreme mood swings without any provocation.The mood swings may persist for an entire day. There may be times when your mood fluctuates within seconds. You may feel happy or neutral and suddenly start feeling sad, upset, and irritable. These behavioral changes have nothing to do with your nature; they are diabetes-induced alterations of emotions. Hence, such diabetes mood swings are one of the early signs that your sugar levels need to be checked.
Table of Contents
Factors affecting Mood Swings in Diabetes
In a diabetic condition, the body suffers from insulin resistance. The body either does not produce insulin or if it does, it is in insufficient amounts. Additionally, the sugar (glucose) derived from the food is retained in the bloodstream rather than being converted into energy.
Whether type I or type II, diabetes causes mood swings. But mood fluctuations are not arbitrary symptoms; there are definite causes. Glycemic variability is the fluctuations of sugar levels in the bloodstream. It is a common problem among people with diabetes. Glycemic fluctuations are directly related to mood swings.
When your blood sugar level increases or decreases, your feelings or moods change. But does low blood sugar cause mood swings? Yes. If you experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), the sugar level in the blood has fallen below 70 mg/dL.
When that condition sets in, the brain lacks the energy to function as the limbs and muscles become weak, which makes you lethargic. This state, in turn, causes hypoglycemic mood swings. Your body lacks energy, and you may feel fatigued quickly. A constant feeling of fatigue may cause irritability. Also, when the body is low on sugar, it tries to release glucose by secreting adrenaline. This hormone causes an increased heart rate, leaving you irritable or anxious. These changes in temper are referred to as hypoglycemic mood swings.
High sugar retention often causes spikes of over 140 mg/dL. It is called hyperglycemia (a spike in blood sugar). With low blood sugar, you might feel nervous, hungry, jittery, confused, tired, irritable, etc. In case of high blood sugar, you may feel lethargic, hungry, tensed, sad, angry, etc. Very often, that leads to psychological disorders that may cause panic attacks.
To deal with these mood swings it is recommended to take a break for yourself! Spend some time each day doing something you genuinely like, whether talking on the phone with a buddy, having fun with your kids or grandkids, or focusing on a creative project.
Read more about what are the causes of diabetes
Psychological Causes of Mood Swings
Diabetes is a chronic situation requiring lifelong self-management, which is not an easy task. This continuous monitoring of diet and sugar levels often leads to a depressive mindset. Drastic mood swings are a natural result of resentment and pent-up anguish. The coexistence of diabetes and mood swings indicates a deep underlying psychological connection between the two.
Back in the 1700s, Thomas Willis predicted that diabetes results from depression. Studies confirm that the biological imbalance caused due to diabetes often results in mental disorders. The reason is that people with diabetes are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, making it even more difficult to manage diabetes.
An individual's motivation to check sugar levels may decrease due to these psychological barriers, which can affect the self-management of diabetes. Depressed people frequently feel less motivated to work out. The highs and lows you experience might lead to significant fluctuations in your emotional state and can worsen the symptoms.
Common symptoms of depression or anxiety can be:
- Weight gain/loss
- Poor lifestyle choices
If you under are prolonged medication for the treatment of any psychiatric disorders, the drugs taken may disturb your glucose tolerance, leading to diabetes.
How to Handle Mood Swings
Here are some measures to mitigate mood swings:
- You should develop rational food habits that help keep your blood sugar under control.
- You should adopt practices like meditation and yoga to help relieve your sad feelings and stress. Walking and breathing exercises are other helpful ways to control mood swings.
- Spikes in blood sugar levels may also lead to fatality. You need to sensitize people around you so that your caregivers and family know what to do in emergencies. You may also call medical experts to handle the situation.
It can be clearly seen that diabetes can cause mood swings because of the various reasons explained here. Mood swings are a prevalent trait in people with diabetes. While you may be unable to control all circumstances that cause fluctuation in your sugar levels, it is worthwhile to try to reduce the risk. You can manage your illness better by talking about your disease to your close ones or other people with diabetes. Furthermore, to mitigate blood sugar mood swings, you should follow sensible diet plans and measure your sugar level regularly. If you still think you need assistance, find a support group, consult a doctor or find a diabetes educator.
What are the emotional effects of diabetes?
The most commonly identified emotional effects of diabetes are fatigue, anxiety, anger, frustration, and diabetes mood swings.
Does diabetes make you bipolar?
It has been observed that diabetes and bipolar disorder frequently occur together. More than 53% of people with bipolar disorder have diabetes or are pre-diabetics. Therefore, treatment for bipolar disorder may become necessary for people with diabetes.
Can diabetes cause temper issues?
Yes, uncontrolled diabetes with a fluctuating sugar level often causes temper issues. The spikes in sugar levels can cause depression, anger and anxiety. A person might feel that their emotions are out of control, which may lead to a mood swing to anger or bad temper. It can lead to emotional or physical abuse in a few cases. While blood sugar mood swings may not be otherwise seen in a person, some of the consequences of diabetes drive one to the point of tantrums.
Does diabetes cause mental confusion?
If diabetes is not controlled and prevails over a considerable period, a person may become delirious. Once delirium is allowed to set in, it causes a noticeable behavioral change. The mind becomes confused, and the chain of thoughts starts becoming foggy.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.