image of a woman looking serious, not understanding diabetes can be a stressful time by Diabetes Insight Cork Ireland

image of a woman looking serious, not understanding diabetes can be a stressful time by Diabetes Insight Cork Ireland

What is Diabetes Burnout?

Diabetes burnout is something that I see here at Diabetes Insight alot. For many people they may not even realise they are in burnout. It can often be a great source of comfort and solace to many people, when I explain what diabetes burnout is and how at Diabetes Insight we can provide support to reduce/eliminate the emotions and symptoms surrounding diabetes burnout.

Diabetes burnout is best defined as a state of disillusion, frustration and somewhat submission to the condition of diabetes. It is associated with self destructive behaviors such as a person having complete disregard for their blood sugar levels. missed doctor appointments, forgetting or avoid taking insulin injections or other diabetic medication, or switching back to unhealthy eating habits.

Often it will be a state of mind that is reached after years of dealing with the condition. Accounts of people who have experienced diabetic burnout report that they are seeking ‘freedom’ from this confining and often frustrating condition. Unfortunately this thinking and the behaviors associated with it lead to a worsening of the diabetes.

Diabetes burnout is often coupled with stress, anxiety, depression and emotional states such as anger, resentment, feeling overwhelmed, guilt &/or shame.

How Do I Address Diabetes Burnout?

  1. Accept your feelings: It is so important for someone who may think they are suffering from diabetes to reach out to friends, family and professionals Because burnout increases your risk of depression it is vital that you talk to someone who can offer support and assistance in your time of need.
  2. Set realistic goals: Too often here at Diabetes Insight I see people set very high standards and unrealistic goals for themselves that they cannot achieve from where they are presently at. They set themselves up for failure and ultimately reinforce all the negative emotions that are associated with diabetes burnout. At Diabetes Insight we review your goals, bring some perspective to a persons situation and set realistic achievable goals. This simply might just be aiming to check blood glucose levels several times a day, everyday for a week or more. Then it could be aiming to get blood glucose levels in a ‘well range’ as opposed to a perfect range.
  3. Identify what you can and cannot change: Sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to change a person or a circumstance, but you can change how you react to it. This can be very difficult to do when you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and upset. At Diabetes Insight we give people time and space to work through their emotions, identify stressors and come up with a plan in how to address them.
  4. Make Time for Yourself: Its so sad how often I see this, people who do not know how to look after themselves and not giving themselves space to even breathe. We live in a world full of convenience where everything and everyone else is a priority. You need to make time for yourself first and foremost and then your diabetes. It is so easy for diabetes to fall down a long list of priorities when life is getting too hot to handle, but unfortunately diabetes has a clever way of rearing its ugly head when life is at is most stressful and busy.
  5. Prioritize, make lists: By prioritizing you are addressing a situation head on and this gives you more of a sense of control over what you are doing.
  6. Get Help: I can’t say it often enough here at Diabetes Insight, we are here to help, just a phone call away, with no obligations.

One of the best books on Diabetes Burnout I have come across is called Diabetes Burnout: What to do when you can’t take anymore by William H Polonsky. I keep a copy of it in my practice at all times for recommendation to people and it really hits a nerve with many. Here is a link to the book on Amazon


At Diabetes Insight we don’t just tell you how, we show you how!

Diabetes Insight is Ireland’s only private independent advisory service and education centre dedicated and specializing solely in Diabetes Self Management Education (DSME). Its aim is to make a difference in the lives of those living daily with diabetes by providing quality education, advice, support and resources in a clear, simple, practical easy to understand manner without fear of judgement or blame. We respect and see each person with diabetes as an individual, with individual needs, so all our services are tailored to your specific needs. 

All our services are designed and facilitated by Helena Farrell RGN, MSc Diabetes who has over 15 years experience working and studying in diabetes management. These services are unique, from cookery courses to one day courses and are not to be found in any other health service or provider within the Republic of Ireland. 

Contact us today to see how we can help you and make a difference to you living with diabetes by ringing Helena on (086) 1739287 &/or email With services starting from as little as 20 euros, there is something to cater for every budget and need.


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