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Does diabetes cause you distress?

It is common to have strong feelings about a long-term condition: more than half of people with diabetes suffer from poor emotional well-being.

What is diabetes distress?

If you’ve been really worried about managing your diabetes for some time, you may have diabetes distress, a specific diabetes-related condition.

People who are distressed may experience difficulties managing their diet, exercising regularly or taking their medicines.

The Diabetes Distress Assessment and Resource Centre covers more about diabetes distress for patients and professionals, including a self-assessment of diabetes distress. Visit their website for more information.

What is diabetes burnout?

Diabetes distress can lead to diabetes burnout, which is when you feel that the demands of self-care are too much. You may even stop trying to manage your diabetes if you have diabetes burnout. This may lead to immediate and long term physical and emotional difficulties and complications.

Burnout may also be experienced by carers.

Managing how you feel about your diabetes is as important as managing your blood glucose levels.

Get medical advice for diabetes distress or burnout

Have an open and frank discussion with your health care professional. They can help you to:

  • reduce and manage your uncomfortable feelings during any periods of stress or burnout
  • put the challenges of living with diabetes into perspective
  • refer you for specialist support if you want

Advice and support on managing diabetes

The Diabetes UK Helpline offers information and emotional, social and psychological support. The helpline is open from Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm, and you can contact them by phone (0345 123 2399) or email: helpline@diabetes.org.uk.

Patient support groups

Don’t do diabetes alone: meet people, both in person and online. There are support groups in Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow and Hillingdon.

Find out about your local support groups   

Diabetes support groups online

If you prefer to chat online, perhaps you want to be anonymous, you can join the Diabetes UK Support Forum, where you can ask questions and chat to others about every diabetes related topic under the sun!

Online forums are free to join and include:    

  • Diabetes UK Support Forum
  • Diabetes.co.uk Forum, which is a privately run community of people with diabetes and not part of the national Diabetes UK charity. This site has 44 subject sub-groups including emotional and mental health.   

There are many Facebook groups, including some that discuss specific complications, stress or eating disorders. There are also peer support groups for parents and carers of children with diabetes.

Every Wednesday there is a ‘Tweetchat’ between 9-10pm on Twitter. You need to have a Twitter account to take part, and use the hashtag in #GBDOC and @gbdocTChost.

Taking care of your mental health is easier when you can connect. Help us to help you.