Not Just Your Regular Holiday Blues – Diabetes and Depression Often Seen Together

By Sarah Khan, M.D., Endocrinology, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Katy

As the holidays approach, and the season’s expectations and demands draw near, it is not uncommon for some, especially older adults, to catch a case of the “holiday blues.” But it’s important to know when it’s more than just the “blues” and how other conditions, like diabetes, may be linked with depression.[1] November is National Diabetes Awareness month, an ideal opportunity to learn how diabetes and depression may sometimes be related.

Diabetes remains prevalent among older adults,[2] and the American Diabetes Association reports that people with diabetes have a higher rate of depression than the general population.[3] At the same time, older adults may also be more susceptible to depression because of increased loneliness associated with social isolation.[4] Unfortunately, when depression co-occurs with other illnesses, such as diabetes, it may go unnoticed.[5]

While depression affects everyone differently,[6] recognizing the signs is a positive step toward managing your mental health while also managing your physical health. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that some of the common symptoms of depression to look out for include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of irritability, frustration, or restlessness
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling slowed down
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, waking early in the morning, or oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide[7]

Disclaimer: If you or someone you know has thoughts about suicide, seek help right away. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911, or go to the closest emergency room.

To reach a trained crisis counselor, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273- 8255). You may also chat at

If you experience any of these symptoms for two or more weeks, or if your symptoms are severe, seek medical attention. There are multiple options for the treatment of depression, but for all of them, the sooner help is sought from the appropriate medical provider, such as your primary care provider, the more effective the treatment.[8]

[1] Mental Health | ADA (

[2] Diabetes in Older People | National Institute on Aging (

[3] Are You Experiencing Depression? | ADA (

[4] Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions (

[5] NIMH » Depression (

[6] NIMH » Depression (

[7] NIMH » Depression (

[8] NIMH » Depression (