Depression Articles

Treating Depression with Diabetes

How is depression treated in people who have diabetes?

Depression is diagnosed and treated by a health care provider. Treating depression can help you manage your diabetes and improve your overall health. Scientists report that for people who have diabetes and depression, treating depression can raise mood levels and increase blood glucose control. (1) Recovery from depression takes time but treatments are effective. At present, the most common treatments for depression include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, that helps people change negative thinking styles and behaviors that may contribute to their depression 
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (ssri), a type of antidepressant medication that includes citalopram (celexa), sertraline (Zoloft), and fluoxetine (prozac)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (snri), a type of antidepressant medication similar to ssri that includes venlafaxine (effexor) and duloxetine (cymbalta).

Some antidepressants may cause weight gain as a side effect and may not be the best depression treatment if you have diabetes. these include: (2)

  • Tricyclics
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (maois)
  • Paroxetine (paxil), an ssri6
  • Mirtazapine (remeron)

While currently available depression treatments are generally well tolerated and safe, talk with your health care provider about side effects, possible drug interactions, and other treatment options. For the latest information on medications, visit the US Food and Drug administration website at Not everyone responds to treatment the same way. Medications can take several weeks to work, may need to be combined with ongoing talk therapy, or may need to be changed or adjusted to minimize side effects and achieve the best results.

1. Anderson RJ, Freedland KE, Clouse RE, Lustman PJ. The prevalence of comorbid depression in adults with diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2001 Jun; 24(6):1069–78.

2. Antidepressants and weight gain: What causes it? July 23, 2008. accessed on August 25, 2008.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health