How to Cope with a New Diabetes Diagnosis

4 Main Tips to Help You Cope With a New Diabetes Diagnosis

By: Dr. Kristin Allison

Learning of a new diagnosis of diabetes can feel devastating. This is especially true if you are surprised by blood work results when you weren’t aware of symptoms. Some respond with fear of the possible complications of diabetes and changes ahead. It is not uncommon to experience emotions such as denial, anger, guilt or sadness. The following suggestions may help you cope with a new diabetes diagnosis.

How to cope with your new diabetes diagnosis

Keep the Right Frame of Mind 

First of all, staying positive can help you accept the challenge ahead. Some people tend to blame themselves for their diagnosis which leads to feelings of shame. Lifestyle (diet, exercise) plays a role in diabetes. But factors such as genetics, which you can’t control, also contribute. As such, you should see your new diagnosis as an opportunity to remake yourself to be healthier.

The good news is that you can manage your diabetes. You are already getting help by working with a weight loss surgery program. Having weight loss surgery and eating better can reverse diabetes. Losing weight will improve how your body handles insulin and reduce insulin resistance.

Educate Yourself

Sometimes when people are in denial of a new diagnosis, they don’t want to address their medical condition. This can lead to lack of self-care. Checking blood sugar, eating differently, and possibly taking medication may seem daunting. Look to your health care team including doctors, dietician, and nurses for guidance.

The more information you have, the more in control you will feel. In fact, medical knowledge is key to helping you deal with your diagnosis. Get facts from organizations such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) which have website resources. You can also join an online community.

Ask for Support 

Talk about your feelings with family and friends and ask those around you to start new habits with you. Involve them in household changes, such as serving healthier meals, grocery shopping and exercising together. By so doing, they will benefit from your positive healthy changes while making it easier for you to follow your new program.

Surrounding yourself with people who are open and encouraging will help in handling your diagnosis. Besides talking to someone else with diabetes, attend a support group or find an online discussion board. This can help you from feeling isolated and realize you are not alone in your diagnosis.

Studies show that there is a higher prevalence of depression in those diagnosed with diabetes.  As such, it is advisable to seek help from a mental professional when sadness or an inability to enjoy life persists.

Set Realistic Goals

Finally, set realistic goals and allow yourself time to adjust to your new diagnosis and habits. It may take several months to learn how to manage your diabetes and to feel comfortable. Remember to take a deep breath. Don’t expect to make all your lifestyle changes overnight. Taking small steps is more manageable. Focus on changing one habit (such as eating less sugar, finding an enjoyable exercise) at a time.

In conclusion, keep a journal of your habits including foods, activity, hydration, blood sugar levels and how you feel. The more you learn from this information, the easier it will be to make good decisions in the future. You may also see the small changes adding up to a healthier you!

Kristin Allison
Dr. Kristin Allison is a board certified psychiatrist specializing in adult and adolescent bariatric patients. She has over 10 years of experience working with those struggling with obesity and eating disorders. She received extensive training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and has led group therapy sessions. Dr. Allison is committed to helping guide individuals with continued support both before and after weight loss surgery. She is a member of American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. She is a member of the Bariatric surgery special interest group in the Academy for Eating Disorders. Dr. Allison is proud to be a part of the multi-disciplinary team at Tri State Bariatrics.

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