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Dealing With Diabetes Burnout & Stress

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Kristi Paguio LMSW, CDCES, CSOWM

Managing the Emotional Side of Diabetes

Diabetes is sometimes described as a 24/7 job with lousy pay and a demanding, unpredictable boss.  Combine this with the physiologic changes that take place throughout the body when glucose levels veer outside of a normal range, and it is no mystery that people with diabetes face some serious emotional challenges.  Burnout and stress plague most people with diabetes, yet few know what to do about it.  This session covers causes, symptoms and effective strategies for dealing with a variety of emotional health issues.

Specific topics include:

  • The two-way relationship between emotional health and glucose 
  • Diabetes distress / burnout
  • Depression
  • High & low blood sugar anxieties
  • Managing chronic stress
  • The effects of sudden (acute) stress
  • The role of sleep in glucose control

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Placement Exam: Dealing With Diabetes Burnout & Stress

1. Chronic (ongoing) stress causes what to happen?

A. Decreased glucagon levels, which can lead to hypoglycemia

B. Increased production of adrenaline, which causes a sharp blood sugar rise

C. Increased production of cortisol, which causes insulin resistance

D. Improvements in food choices and exercise patterns

2. Which of the following is NOT a symptom commonly associated with diabetes burnout?

A. Intentionally letting blood sugars run high

B. Eating more of the foods that you know cause blood sugar problems

C. Feeling angry or exhausted over diabetes

D. Checking glucose levels obsessively

3. Obsessive avoidance of elevated blood sugar:

A. Is less dangerous than obsessive avoidance of low blood sugar

B. Reflects underlying depression

C. Is extremely rare

D. Is a specialized anxiety disorder

4. Which is true about depression:

A. It is much more common in people with diabetes

B. It is usually associated with very tight blood sugar control

C. Treatment almost always requires medication

D. Symptoms are similar from person to person

5. Which of the following is associated with an anxiety disorder?

A. Having consistent screening exams to avoid long-term diabetes complications

B. Needle-phobia that keeps one from taking needed injections

C. Taking rapid-acting carbs when blood sugars are approaching but not yet at a hypoglycemic level

D. Calling your healthcare team whenever ketones are present

Answers: C, D, D, A, B

  • Answered 4 or 5 correctly?  Nice job, Professor!  Looks like you know your stuff.  Maybe you could teach a course on this subject! But there are always new things to learn.
  • Answered 3 or fewer correctly?  You may have a thing or two to learn.  You would certainly benefit from taking this class. 
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