Depression & Stress

Recommendation: Be Aware, Seek Out Help

Depression increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 60%.1 Depression is associated with many bad health habits, such as smoking, overeating, and a lack of physical activity.1 In fact, people with depression have a 58% increased risk of becoming obese.2 Depression is also associated with central obesity,1,3 which is particularly connected to diabetes risk.
In addition to this potential for weight gain, clinical depression by itself can increase your risk of developing diabetes. This may be because depression increases the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol, and proinflammatory cytokines, both of which can negatively affect your body’s ability to metabolize glucose.4
As many Asian countries are undergoing rapid economic development, depression has become increasingly common in Asia.5 If you often feel depressed, seek out treatment from a licensed professional. If you have already been diagnosed with depression, take precautions to help avoid developing diabetes in the future.  See more information on how to reduce your risk.
Stress may be related to the risk of diabetes, although the data for this has not been consistent.6-7 Nonetheless, stress is connected to many other risk factors for diabetes. Long-term stress can lead a person to eat too much or to eat unhealthy foods, which contributes to obesity.8 Stress is also a common cause of insomnia, as worries you have can keep your mind overly active while you are trying to sleep.9 Stress may even make it harder to feel motivated to keep physically active.10 Finally, times of great stress often lead to depression,11 if the severity of the stress overcomes your ability to cope. For these reasons, good stress management can help improve your health and reduce your risk of diabetes.
1 Mezuk B, Eaton WW, Albrecht S, et al. Depression and type 2 diabetes over the lifespan: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2008 Dec;31(12):2383-2290.
2 Luppino FS, de Wit LM, Bouvy PF, et al. Overweight, obesity, and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(3):220-229.
4 Rotella F, Mannucci E. Depression as a risk factor for diabetes: a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. J Clin Psychiatry. 2013;74(1):31-37.
5 Chan JCN, Malik V, Jia W, et al. Diabetes in Asia: Epidemiology, Risk Factors, and Pathophysiology. JAMA. 2009;301(20):2129-2140.
7 Cosgrove MP, Sargeant LA, Caleyachetty R, et al. Work-related stress and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis. Occup Med (Lond). 2012;62(3):167-173.
8 Torres SJ, Nowson CA. Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Nutrition. 2007;23(11-12):887-894.
9 Insomnia: Causes. Mayo Clinic. Published January 2011. Accessed September 16, 2013.
10 Stults-Kolehmainen MA, Sinha R. The Effects of Stress on Physical Activity and Exercise. Sports Med. 2014;44(1):81-121.
11 Hammen C. Stress and depression. Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2005;1:293-319.