It’s normal to feel anxious or worried at times. Everyone does. In fact, a moderate amount of anxiety can be good. It helps you respond appropriately to real danger, and it can help motivate you to excel at work and at home.

But if you often feel anxious without reason and your worries disrupt your daily life, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders cause excessive or unrealistic anxiety and worry about life circumstances, usually without a readily identifiable cause.

Little is known about the relationship between diabetes and anxiety. Recent evidence suggests that the rate of anxiety disorders is elevated in people with type 1 diabetes. It is estimated that 14% of people with diabetes have generalized anxiety disorder. As many as 40% of people have at least some anxiety symptoms, and fear of hypoglycemia is not uncommon in those with diabetes. Anxiety disorders in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes may be associated with poor blood sugar control.

Signs & symptoms of anxiety

The signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder can vary in combination or severity. They may include:

  • Restlessness
  • Feeling of being tense or on edge
  • Feeling a lump in your throat
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Being easily distracted
  • Muscle tension
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

Treatment of anxiety

The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are medication (anti-anxiety drugs and/or anti-depressants) and psychotherapy ("talk therapy"), either alone or in combination.

If you have difficulty controlling your worries, or if anxiety interferes with your daily life, speak with your doctor, diabetes health-care team or mental health professional.