Doctor Explains How to Overcome Mental Health Impact Due to Diabetes

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WESLACO – One Rio Grande Valley doctor advises not to lose focus when diabetes starts targeting more than just your body.

He says although the transition into it can be frustrating and, at times, discouraging, the diagnosis can be the beginning of a new life.

The American Diabetes Association reports that nearly 10 percent of adults have diabetes.

Day in and day out, nurse Lizette Zamora sees patients with diabetes. She says not too long ago, she became part of that statistic.

“How could it happen to me if I know so much?” she says. “That’s what was running through my head. I was sad very sad. I did cry.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Jose Ioga says the disease comes with other struggles.

“People with diabetes do get more psychological problems,” he says. “The problems of depression is almost twice as high as it could be in the general population.”

He says depression can take a hold.

But Dr. Ioga says it’s possible to break free. He emphasizes the need to strengthen four areas of your life: physical, psychological, social and spiritual.

He recommends a good diet, exercise and enough sleep each night.

Dr. Ioga says you should find ways to boost your self-esteem, stay in touch with your spirituality and look for opportunities to surround yourself with positive influences.

“Because if you isolate yourself when you are depressed, you are with bad company. All that’s going to be is negative,” he explains. “It’s stinkin’ thinkin’ that occurs when you’re depressed where everything you see is in a negative view.”

He says it’s important to pace yourself, too.

“It’s a chronic illness. You should run it like a marathon, not try to run it like a 100-yard dash and try to make all these changes at a time,” he says.

Dr. Ioga says it helps to keep end goals in mind like a child’s graduation. He says that can keep you motivated during times when you’re faced with food that may be bad for you.

Zamora says she’s still grappling with the news. She says it helps to have friends and family surrounding her.

But when the tough days come, she plans to address it.

“Explain to the people who you love and tell them that sometimes you’re going to have your bad days but it’s not them. It’s just you because you don’t feel good,” she says.

Diabetes can get worse when the proper care is not taken. Zamora says, more importantly, it can also get better.

“Even though you may be called a diabetic, you are a person with diabetes. You’re not a diabetic,” she says. “There’s so much more to you as a person that just an illness.”

Dr. Ioga says the diagnosis can become an opportunity to make positive changes for families who have a member suffering from diabetes. He says it can create better eating habits and spending time together outdoors.

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