Diabetes and Substance Abuse

Diabetes is when there is too much sugar in your blood and not enough insulin in the body to regulate it. It can be a very stressful disease in making sure you eat right and get enough activity. According to the Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation journal, 50%-60% of those with diabetes are alcoholics and have a poorer health when abusing substances. People with diabetes go to drugs and alcohol because of the everyday stress they go through but abusing substances can cause their diabetes to be even worse.

For those that are younger with diabetes have trouble with dealing with the stress of not eating what you want or worrying about taking medication at the right time. Diabetic Medicine journal says that the poorest level of glycemic control is between ages 16-18 and can be associated with death. Many feel that they have it under control when drinking and doing drugs but they can believe everything is going fine when they are experiencing fatal problems.

Alcohol is loaded with sugar and many mix alcohol with fruit juice, crushed fruit, syrup, and soda. It can make someone with diabetes be sleepy and comfortable while ignoring their low blood sugar levels altogether. Heroin tends to interact with the pancreas which causes hyperglycemia, causing damage to major organs. Being under the influence can cause diabetics not to eat on their regular schedule or to take their medications the right way as well as not exercise to keep their weight down. Everything else to them seems unimportant or unnecessary.

There are many ways to get treatment for this co-occurring disorder such as going to support groups in order to meet other people and discuss the challenges that come with managing diabetes. Meditation is good for focusing on positive thoughts, acknowledging bad thoughts and moving on from them. Alternative Therapy in Health and Medicine journal says that meditation is also good for reducing blood pressure and blood glucose levels. It can also help to join a club or a hobby to expand your social circle and do something more productive with your time. By working with medical detox practitioners, nurses, social workers, therapists, nutritionists, and alternative medicine can help diabetics get sober in a safe and controlled environment. Going to therapy and counseling can help explore fears and concerns as well as come up with a treatment plan to use when times are tough.


Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in County Louth, near Dublin was founded in 1988 as a residential rehabilitation hospital treating people suffering from drug and alcohol purposes. Smarmore Castle treats both the substance use and the mental health disorder at the same time in our residential clinic offering the 12 Steps, detox and medical treatment, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and more. For more information, please call 041-214-5111. For those who live out of the country, the international number is 00353-41-214-5111.

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