Strategies for Addressing Diabetes Burnout

Diabetes self-management involves a set of activities or "behaviors" that people with diabetes use to take care of their disease and promote their health. Broadly speaking, self-management tasks include:

  • Daily management tasks such as taking medications, adhering to dietary plans, self-monitoring, physical activity;
  • Maintaining daily living with a chronic illness;
  • Dealing with the emotional aspects of the disease, such as anger, anxiety, frustration, and depression.

Type 2 diabetes management can often feel like a full-time job. So just like with many tough jobs, it is easy to burnout. Every burnout is making it difficult to persist with the routine. Even though diabetes burnout is common, there are strategies to recover. Continue reading to find out how to recognize the indications and symptoms of diabetes burnout and what to do about it.

What is diabetes burnout?

People with diabetes defined this state as mental, emotional, and physical fatigue. It can develop into emotions of detachment, overwhelming feelings and helplessness if it persists.

What are the four stages of diabetes burnout?

  • Engaged profile: the person is committed to his or her diabetes care and shows no signs of exhaustion, aloofness, or helplessness.
  • Exhausted profile: the person is engaged in their diabetes self-care and support systems (relatives, friends, etc.) but describes feeling exhausted or burned out.
  • Disengaged profile: the person is disengaged from their diabetes self-care, their identification with their type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and/or their support systems, but shows no signs of exhaustion or powerlessness.
  • "Burned Out" profile: The individual is showing signs of mental, emotional, and physical disengagement from their diabetes self-care, support systems, and identity with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This is usually accompanied by exhaustion and/or powerlessness.

Common symptoms of diabetes burnout are:

The duration, severity, and symptoms of diabetes burnout can vary not only from person to person but even within a person. Depending on what's going on in your life, one burnout episode may look different from the next. Although there are no standard tests for diabetic burnout, it can cause psychological symptoms such as:

  • Negative emotions such as frustration, anger, resentment, hopelessness, or an overwhelming sense of defeat or failure;
  • Continuous fatigue;
  • Lack of motivation to follow treatment plans and doctor advice;
  • Overwhelmed state of confusion;
  • If you are concerned about your health isolation or the feeling that no one understands what you are going through a pessimistic attitude.

How do you beat diabetes burnout?

Before you try to beat symptoms of burnout, you need to know where you are starting from and what is currently going on in your life and mind, especially concerning your diabetes management. Try starting with:

1. Understanding where you are and try to accept your feelings.

If you want to get to the bottom of your burnout, you need to be very honest with how does managing diabetes daily looks like for you. How do you eat, how do you take your insulin, and how your exercise looks like? It is about getting a clear picture of what life with diabetes looks like in your actions and behaviors today before you try to move forward and achieve a specific goal.

2. Identifying barriers in your life that keep you from practicing effective self-care regularly.

What obstacles are there in your life that get in the way of consistent self-care? If you do not exercise, find a friend who also wants to go for a walk or do some stretching. If you fall asleep before taking your evening medication, set an alarm or talk to your doctor about options.

3. Modifying the approach in your diabetes care and treatment.

Exploring new diabetes management strategies can be a great way to re-energize yourself and avoid burnout. Other ideas include changing your exercise routine by running different routes, signing up for online or in-person fitness classes, or rediscovering your favorite childhood sport. You can also try:

  • Taking time to appreciate small victories and achievements.

Perfect blood sugar management is not necessary and may not even be possible. And sometimes it's better to see the small picture and celebrate it than the big picture. Try taking small steps - for example, lowering your A1c by 1% - rather than desperately focusing on ambitious big goals that take time. You are still moving in the same direction, but you'll have more success and joy along the way.

  •  Joining a support group and connect with new people.

Finding opportunities to connect with other people who have diabetes is another way to combat diabetes burnout. Building relationships with people who "really get you" allows you to share your struggles and triumphs.

Every day, people around the world connect in our active community to share advice, get support, and help each other live a healthier fuller life. It’s a movement changing lives across the globe. Join our Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together group here.

  • Consulting with a doctor about your diabetes burnout.

Contact your family doctor, ophthalmologist, podiatrist, nutritionist, diabetes educator - anyone and everyone - to help you get back on track with your goals. It's easier for you to see what's not working than what you are doing right.

Your team can remind you of the progress you have made and help you with new ideas and strategies. Try to communicate with your doctor what would happen if you stopped your diabetes care plan or if you can review your eating plan? Understand what part of your diabetes care routine should be prioritized and what not?

What does diabetes fatigue feel like?

Fatigue is a typical symptom of diabetes and it is a product of high blood sugar fluctuation, as well as other symptoms and problems. Fatigue is an indicator that a certain style of managing diabetes is not appropriate for a person experiencing it and it is a call for a change.

Diabetes fatigue, tiredness and burnout are not the same. Rest may not be enough to alleviate symptoms of exhaustion and lethargy in people who suffer from chronic diabetes fatigue. When a person is tired, resting usually makes them feel better. Finally, diabetes burnout has been linked to challenges to diabetes treatment compliance and, as a result, glycemic control.

Diabetes burnout is defined as symptoms of mental, emotional, and physical tiredness as a result of having diabetes. Patients often report feeling fatigued and despairing, as well as having problems with self-care and diabetes management, as well as detachment from self and support systems, leading to a growing sense of powerlessness, according to studies.

Can diabetes cause mental health issues?

Diabetes can lead to a condition called diabetic stress, which has some characteristics of stress, depression, and anxiety. Unlike depression, diabetes can be attributed to causative factors related to diabetes. For example, fear of hypoglycemia or very low blood glucose levels can cause significant worry. Diabetes distress can also be influenced by external factors such as family and social support and health services. It is estimated that 33 to 50 percent of people with diabetes suffer from diabetes stress at some point.

  • Depression, anxiety, and eating problems are all more common in those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • People with diabetes have two times the rate of depression as the general population.
  • People with type 1 diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from eating disorders.
  • Bulimia is the most frequent eating disorder in women with type 1 diabetes, but binge eating is more common in women with type 2 diabetes.

Is there a link between depression and diabetes?

Some of the symptoms of depression and diabetes overlap. When you have either disease, you may experience fatigue and you may be sleepy a lot. It is also common to have difficulties concentrating. This makes it difficult to understand whether your symptoms are due to depression, diabetes, or both. You might ask if diabetes can cause depression or can it make you depressed. The nature of diabetes can be a factor in developing depression, even if it does not cause it directly. It's a difficult condition to manage since it's constant, which may be taxing. We all know how tough diabetes and depression can be. However, keep in mind that you are not alone. We have many resources to help you at this difficult time.

Although more study is needed to properly explain the connection between diabetes and depression, it is evident that there is one. Diabetes-related changes in brain chemistry are considered to be linked to the development of depression. Damage caused by diabetic neuropathy or clogged blood vessels in the brain, for example, may have a role in the development of depression in diabetics.

Are there any differences in the symptoms of depression in people who have diabetes?

Just trying to cope and properly manage a chronic disease like diabetes can feel overwhelming to some. If you are feeling down and your sadness does not improve within a few weeks, you may be suffering from depression. It's critical to contact a healthcare expert if you've been experiencing any of the symptoms of depressed for more than two weeks. It will always be difficult, but asking for help and talking about your difficulties with someone may be beneficial.

Common symptoms include:

  • No longer enjoying activities you used to enjoy;
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much;
  • Loss of appetite or binge eating poor concentration lethargy;
  • Constant anxiety or nervousness isolation and loneliness;
  • Morning sadness;
  • Feeling like you "never do anything right";
  • Having suicidal thoughts, hurting yourself.

The most common treatment for depression is a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Certain lifestyle modifications may also help relieve symptoms. Regular exercise can help you feel better by increasing the levels of “feel good” chemicals in your brain. Serotonin and endorphins are two of them. Additionally, this exercise, like antidepressant drugs, stimulates the development of new brain cells. Physical activity can help you manage diabetes by lowering your weight and blood sugar levels while also boosting your energy and endurance.