Kathi Whitten, LCSW - Individual, Couple & Family Psychotherapy


According to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, about 8.3% of the population are now diagnosed with diabetes. Although there are differences -- Type I, Type II, Gestational Diabetes, or what is sometimes referred to as “Pre-Diabetes” --  most people who are diagnosed with any form of diabetes have certain challenges in common when it comes to managing their condition.

First, you need to have a good working relationship with your doctor(s). Do you understand what is happening in your body, how recommendations made for medications, diet, exercise and lowered stress will affect your future health?

People sometimes have anxiety, fear or confusion about learning all the processes involved in daily care. There may be anger, even resentment, that life will now need to be lived in a different way. Some people have complicated lives that make monitoring and self-care more difficult.

Some people believe they can’t make time, or simply don’t want to incorporate new exercise, dietary plans, and actions like monitoring glucose and medications on a daily basis.

For others, it is more about giving up old habits. Sometimes it can be very difficult to stop eating in old careless ways, or to self-motivate to commit to the exercise and medication/glucose monitoring regimen they need to follow. Even though they have the best of intentions, powerful, old habitual lifestyle behaviors somehow seem to return, and get them off-track.

Taking care of your diabetes is only one among the many things you will have to do every day. But being comfortable with your diabetes management is only possible when other life stressors are also being dealt with. Self-monitoring is a complex activity, but it need not keep you from pursuing other valuable directions in your life. If you are also trying to deal with distressed relationships, an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, job stress or any other challenging condition, you might be compromising your effectiveness in diabetic management.

Working with an experienced therapist to create the optimal conditions for managing your diabetes would be a good idea if you are having trouble with any particular part(s) of your treatment plan, cannot stay on track with making the lifestyle changes, or have any other interfering conditions in your life, whether they are personal or involve other people in your relationships. Your future is worth doing all you can to be in charge of managing your health.

Kathi Whitten Copyright 2009