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What Is the Connection between Mood Swings and Diabetes?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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Typically, two main factors lead to a connection between mood swings and diabetes. These are physical factors such as blood sugar levels and hormones, and mental and emotional factors like depression, anxiety, and stress. Sometimes, gender even plays a role in the causes of diabetic mood swings, causing women to experience diabetic mood swings for different reasons than do men, and vice versa.

Perhaps one of the most common physical causes of mood swings in people with diabetes are fluctuating blood sugar levels. If a diabetic’s blood sugar, or blood glucose, becomes extremely high or extremely low, he can experience mood swings. Diabetes also can cause fluctuations in hormones, though the details of this factor are usually gender-specific.

For example, some women experience out-of-control blood sugar levels the week before their menstrual cycles, which lead to mood swings beyond any regular or anticipated menstrual-related mood swings. Similarly, a woman who is experiencing menopause might have trouble managing her blood glucose. These too-high or too-low blood sugar levels also can cause mood swings traced back to diabetes.

Traditionally, the main physical connection between mood swings and diabetes for men, besides peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels, was impotence. Some studies have shown that up to 75% of men with diabetes suffer or will suffer from impotence or erectile dysfunction (ED). Diabetes-related issues like high blood pressure and a lack of nitric oxide can lead to ED, and ED can lead to mood swings.

Yet, experts have discovered another cause for the relationship between mood swings and diabetes among men. Andropause, which is a sort of male menopause, involves decreasing testosterone levels and increasing estrogen levels. These increasing and decreasing hormone levels coupled with the kinds of unreliable blood sugar levels they can cause can lead to mood swings among men with diabetes.

Physical factors aside, many reasons for the connection between mood swings and diabetes deal with mental and emotional health. Diabetics often feel depressed about their condition, or anxious about the responsibility of monitoring blood sugar levels and administering insulin. Some diabetics might feel frustrated with their diet changes, confused about all the medical instructions they receive, or angry with themselves or their bodies for developing diabetes. Each of these factors can lead to mood swings. Depending on the diabetic’s ability to eventually cope with his new lifestyle requirements, he might need professional help managing his mood swings and the mental and emotional stress causing them.

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Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Feb 11, 2013

@ddljohn-- It's probably true. Everything in the body is connected, especially hormones so that's not a very surprising connection.

I think the only way to prevent and treat mood swings is to keep diabetes under control. Taking insulin and medications on time, following a healthy diet, exercising and checking blood sugar levels often is the only way to do it.

I check my blood sugar several times a day. I avoid any food that will cause a spike in my blood sugar. At the same time, I never skip meals and snack often. I think I'm doing a good job because I rarely have mood swings.

By ddljohn — On Feb 10, 2013

I've read that the hormones that control insulin production in the body also affect mood. Is this true?

Is there anything a diabetic can do to prevent and treat these mood swings?

By donasmrs — On Feb 10, 2013

I'm a diabetic. The only time I experience mood swings is when there is a sudden change in my blood sugar. If my blood sugar is too high or low, I don't feel good. I lose my patience and everything bothers me.

Especially when my blood sugar falls, I become ill and will yell at the people around me until things go back to normal.

I wish I wasn't like this though. I don't like hurting people around me and they don't understand why I'm being that way.

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