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From Victoria, British Columbia, Canada:

Over the past few years, my husband of 30 years (he is 54) has not been acting like his usual self. This year our relationship ended in a separation with what looks like burnout and mid-life crisis for him. This separation is singularly one-sided on his part. Now, five months later, he has just found out that he has fully developed diabetes. He has some recognizable complications including some acute nerve damage and poor circulation in his legs. These symptoms indicate that he might have had diabetes for some time.

The question that I would like to have answered is this: Is there any connection between untreated diabetes and impaired mental functioning? Can untreated diabetes cause depression and inability to handle stress? If there is any relationship between dissatisfaction and fluctuating or too high of blood sugar levels? By way of hearsay, or anecdotal information, several people have confirmed that mental instability was characteristic of some of their family members who later were diagnosed with diabetes. Thank you for your response.

P.S.: Would mental functioning or depression clear up when the blood sugar and lifestyle balances become stabilized?


Mental instability is not a precursor for diabetes. Sometimes diabetes can appear following a life stressor, but the life stressor did not cause the diabetes. In general, if persons are predisposed to the disease, then major stressors can push the individual over the line into full diabetes. When the stressors lessen, however, the diabetes remains.

Have you and your spouse sought counseling? You are entirely correct that your husband has probably had high blood sugars longer than he may realize. Yet, I do not think it wise to pin the behaviors he has demonstrated on diabetes.


Original posting 2 Sep 1998
Posted to Behavior


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:00
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