Does Diabetes Cause Mood Swings?

Diabetes affects your mood

People with diabetes may experience mood swings due to blood sugar levels, stress, or a mental health condition. You may think diabetes just affects your pancreas, but living with this condition often affects your mood and mental health too. For one, you may experience mood swings when your blood glucose levels are too high or low. Stress, depression, and anxiety can also crop up.

Managing diabetes on a daily basis can sometimes feel overwhelming, so it’s important to check in on your emotional well-being every once in a while. One way to regulate your mood is to understand and follow your diabetes management plan. This will help smooth out the highs and lows in your blood glucose, which can cause mood swings.

You may need to talk with a mental health professional if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, burnout, or anxiety. Managing your mental health is just as important to your overall health as your diabetes treatment plan.

Mood swings and diabetes:

Feeling a range of highs and lows is not uncommon if you have diabetes. Your blood sugar impacts how you feel and can contribute to mood swings. Poor management of blood glucose can lead to negative moods and a lower quality of life Trusted Source.

How do you know if you have low or high blood glucose? Your diabetes management plan should involve frequent blood sugar readings to help you manage the condition.

According to the American Diabetes Association, your target range for your blood sugar can vary from person to person. Generally, target ranges are:

  • 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (ml/dl) before you eat a meal
  • 180 ml/dl or lower a few hours after eating a meal
  • Numbers below or above your target range could be the source of changing moods.

You may notice that you feel off if your blood sugar is high or low and that getting your level back into the target range instantly improves your outlook.

You might also see a trend in your emotions when your blood glucose is low or high, so it’s important to test your sugar level when you feel a certain way. For instance, low blood glucose levels may make you feel:

  • Confused
  • Nervous
  • Hungry
  • Irritable
  • Shaky
  • Jittery
  • Tired
  • Sweaty

High blood glucose levels may make you feel:

  • Tense
  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Foggy
  • Faint
  • Thirsty
  • Tired
  • Nervous

It’s important to keep your blood glucose as stable as possible. If you take insulin or a sulfonylurea, keep a fast-acting source of carbohydrates with you at all times. This way, if you have low blood glucose, you can bring it back up quickly.

If you experience big fluctuations throughout the day, talk with your doctor about a potential change to your treatment regimen.

Also Read: How Stress Affects Diabetes and How to Decrease It?

Stress and diabetes:

The stress of a diabetes diagnosis, and the stress of managing diabetes over time, can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and diabetes burnout. Some reasons you may feel stressed include:

  • You may not be feeling well physically.
  • You may be concerned about the management plan, including the daily regimen, lifestyle modifications, and costs.
  • You may feel overwhelmed about lifelong treatment.
  • You may be exhausted from maintaining your management plan.

Stress can affect diabetes negatively. Stress that lasts for many weeks or months can lead to unstable glucose levels. Your blood glucose levels can rise, and sometimes fall, with stress. These fluctuations can alter your overall mood.

Stress can interfere with managing your condition. When under stress, you may be less motivated to exercise and eat and drink according to your treatment plan.

Don’t let stress interfere with your diabetes management. Talk with your doctor about your stress levels, or reach out to a diabetes educator. Use the American Association of Diabetes Educators website to find an educator near you.

Mental health and diabetes
You may be at risk of developing a mental health condition if you have diabetes. Anxiety is common in people with diabetes, especially women. Between 30 to 40 % Trusted source of those with diabetes report having anxiety.

Up to 1 in 4 people Trusted Source with diabetes have depression. Women are more prone to depression with diabetes than men.

Some symptoms of depression include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Low quality of life
  • Poor lifestyle choices
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Tiredness or lethargy
  • Difficulty concentrating

It’s important to recognize symptoms of depression and seek help right away. Depression can make it difficult to manage diabetes. The highs and lows you experience with poorly managed diabetes can lead to greater changes in mood and worsening symptoms.

Schedule an appointment with a mental health professional to discuss the possibility of depression or other mental health conditions related to your diabetes.

You can inquire about mental health professionals with your insurance carrier or ask family or friends for recommendations. You can also refer to the National Alliance on Mental Illness to locate a provider.

When to see a doctor?

There are several reasons to see a doctor about mood issues, stress, or depression if you have diabetes. Some of these include:

  • If you are having trouble managing your blood sugar
  • If your moods fluctuate regularly
  • If you have lost interest in daily activities
  • If you can’t stick to your diabetes management plan
  • If you feel sad or hopeless
  • If you feel suicidal (if this is the case, go to the emergency room)


It’s common to encounter mood swings, stress, or even depression if you have diabetes. To reduce the chances of experiencing these mental health conditions, maintain your management plan and keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.

Never hesitate to reach out to family, friends, or a mental health professional to discuss your mental health or to get help with your diabetes treatment.

Source: Can Diabetes Cause Mood Swings?



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