HOW TO COPE WITH DIABETES
Category : How Diabetes Affects Mental Health
Among chronic diseases, diabetes is unique in the amount of time and attention it requires of the person who has it to remain healthy. It is therefore no surprise that taking care of yourself may feel difficult or challenging at times.
That’s why dealing with diabetes over the long term requires developing a range of coping skills and techniques, from learning to carry out the daily tasks of diabetes control, to finding ways to deal with the emotions that having diabetes and having to care for it are bound to bring up at times.
Working in a group setting allows members to observe the behavior of others as well as practice and obtain feedback on how effectively they communicate with the other members of the group.
These models can also be used to help diabetics with eating situations, such as ordering food prepared in a healthy manner in a restaurant and assuring that one’s needs are met.
Cognitive Behavior Modification
Cognitive behavior modification is composed of three steps.
These steps are:
1) recognition of thoughts and feelings,
2) problem-solving, and
3) guided self-dialogue.
The first step is working with the person to reflect on how he or she thinks and then responds to situations. The individual’s thoughts are examined to consider if the thoughts are based on fact or assumption. Once the thoughts are examined, the next step is to problem-solve. The third step is teaching the person to use thoughts to help follow through on the decision made in the previous step.
The use of pen and paper is appropriate when teaching this skill. Group members can list their negative thoughts and then the member and the group can formulate alternate positive thoughts to counter the negative thoughts.
An example of this skill is that many diabetics are quite frightened by the possibility of severe hypoglycemia, but sometimes, this fear is out of proportion to the likelihood of its occurrence.
When diabetics exaggerate in this way, they can be taught to change their thinking about the likelihood of a severe hypoglycemic event, thereby eliminating this barrier to striving for better metabolic control.
The basis of conflict resolution is the acquisition of skills necessary to resolve conflict in a positive manner that results in positive outcomes for all parties involved in the conflict.
The first step in this training is development of the understanding that in any conflict, both parties can win and that each and every conflict should be approached in this manner.
The diabetic is helped to focus on clear communication and problem-solving skills. Once the conflict is identified, all possible outcomes and the consequences to these outcomes are explored.
A role-play can then be set up to “try out” the communication of the decision. For example, spouses who are having difficulty negotiating various aspects of diabetes management can be taught to resolve these conflicts in this manner.
Diabetes is a long-term stressor that has the potential for patients to have difficulty in coping with the day-to-day management of diabetes.
Medical professionals can evaluate their diabetics coping abilities in both formal and informal ways, and this information can be used to assist the patients in developing better coping skills. Such improved coping skills may assist diabetics achieving better metabolic control and quality of life.
HOW PETS CAN IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
When I am feeling down and fed-up with my diabetes , my dogs come to my rescue. They cuddle with me, then motivate me to go out the door to take them for a walk or some play time. My fur-friends get me to smile and feel happier no matter how ill or upset I feel.
I am not alone. It turns out that all pets, not just dogs, can help your mind, body, and spirit.
When you come home to a purr or wagging tail at the end of a stressful day, the sudden wave of calm you feel isn’t just your imagination.
Research suggests that your fluffy friend truly is good for your physical and mental health. Pets provide unconditional acceptance and love and they’re always there for you, There is a bond and companionship that makes a big difference in mental health,not to mention the extra exercise you get from walks and playtime.
Sun and fresh air elevate your mood and the sun gives you an extra dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D exposure helps fight physical and mental conditions, including depression, cancer, obesity, and heart attacks. Also, when you go outside with your pet, you are engaging with nature.
More than any other animal, dogs have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behavior and emotions. While dogs are able to understand many of the words we use, they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures.
And like any good human friend, a loyal dog will look into your eyes to gauge your emotional state and try to understand what you’re thinking and feeling (and to work out when the next walk or treat might be coming, of course).
While most dog owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with canine companions, many remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of playing with or snuggling up to a furry friend.
Research has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity.
Studies have also found that:
Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
Rhythmic petting or grooming can be comforting to your dog or cat, and you. Concentrate on the texture of his soft fur, the warmth he radiates, and his deep breaths.
When you connect with your pet, oxytocin, the hormone related to stress and anxiety relief, is released, helping to reduce blood pressure and lower cortisol levels.
People with dogs have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
Being present and engaged with your pet takes your thoughts off of the issues that are plaguing you. When you are fully in the moment, you are not worrying about the past or the future. It’s just you and your pet.
Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
Seeing his enthusiasm when you walk in the door can be an instant mood-lifting boost. His tail wagging, tongue hanging out his mouth , the way his ears perk up. His grunts or barks. He doesn’t care if you just screwed something up at work, or failed a test, he loves you for being you.He is just happy to see you. He wants to be around you, to love you, and be loved by you.
Heart attack patients with dogs survive longer than those without.
Having a pet to care for can give you a feeling of purpose, which can be crucial when you are feeling really down and overwhelmed by negative thoughts.
Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.
If you don’t like to be alone, pets can be great domestic companions. Often a pet is very intuitive and will seek you out when you’re feeling down, refusing to allow you to remain alone.
One of the reasons for these effects is that dogs (and cats) fulfill the basic human need to touch.
Even hardened criminals in prison have shown long-term changes in their behavior after interacting with dogs, many of them experiencing mutual affection for the first time.
And if you don’t have a pet or can’t get one right now, you can volunteer at a shelter. There are many animals that can still benefit from your love, and you will feel the benefits, too!!!
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