By Carla Roberts Pruitt
(KUTV) Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people in the United States. And it is not just the disease itself that many people need treatment for. There are studies that show a correlation between diabetes and depression.
It was during a vacation to Hawaii several years ago, when Glen Biesinger noticed something was wrong. A trip to the doctor would reveal that Glen had diabetes. After the diagnoses, Glens life took a downward turn. I blamed it on everyone or everything else, said Glen. I felt like I didn't deserve it. I was in really good health and I couldn't take it and deal with it. Glen tells us his wife left him. As the months turned to years, Glens struggle with diabetes made him depressed.
Experts say, this is a common cycle with people who have diabetes. One of the bigger challenges to help people understand is depression is a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease. Doctor Tim Johnson is an internist and sees many patients with diabetes. He says a diagnosis of a chronic disease can cause depression. Sometimes there is an inherent predisposition to depression and they didn't do anything to cause the depression. It just happens.
Depression makes it tough, Dr. Johnson says, for people to control their diabetes. That's why mental health experts are brought in to work with patients who may be suffering from depression. If you can describe that to them and don't judge them and help them understand that it is a natural thing for people who have a chronic disease, said Dr. Johnson.
As for Glen, it took several years for him to realize he needed help. Lots of people get diabetes and the real key is how you respond to it. Glen recently spoke at a conference for health care professionals at Intermountain Medical Center. He told the audience that suicide was never an option and that diabetes is a disease you cant control alone.
For more information on diabetes, visit: http://www.diabetes.org/
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)