which can make cells even more resistant to lanced state . But such “primitive” stressors are Stress is Bad for Blood Sugar insulin, spiraling the insulin requirements up-not all that common in modern life. Instead, we Control in Diabetics ward… until the period of stress is over with, at mostly face psychosocial and mental stresses
which point it’s not clear when to start getting that are not short-term threats. These cause our Increasingly, research is implicating chronic the insulin dose down again… because different nervous system to react with a “fight or flight” stress and negative emotions such as hostility, parts of the body regain their insulin sensitivity response but there is no end to the “emergency” anger and depression as major risk factors in at different rates… The perfectly balanced sys-and, therefore, no proper “relaxation” response the development of a number of degenerative tem is completely upended.” (p.61) afterward. We stay in a state of heightened chronic illnesses, including heart disease and sympathetic arousal or, worse still, both our diabetes. Stress, including psychological stress, can thus sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are cause havoc with metabolic control in an insulin-In the case of persons with diabetes, stress can turned on. Neither fighting nor fleeing is of any dependent diabetic. alter blood glucose levels in a number of help when the “enemy” is in your own mid.
ways… For the insulin-resistant diabetic (Type II), Frequent or chronic psychosocial stress results chronic stress is likely an underlying factor in First, people who are under stress may not take in the development of ongoing feelings of de-the development of the condition in the first good care of themselves. They may not take the pression, anxiety, irritability, anger, and hostility place and, secondly, once you are classified as time to plan healthy meals and tend to eat more that cause our physiology to remain in a perpe-diabetic, stress can continue to worsen your dis-foods that are high in starch, sugars, carbohy-tual state of hyperarousal and over-reactivity to ease as well as make it more difficult to stabilize drates and calories. They may drink more caf-further stresses— even the many little and your blood sugar. Again, in the words of Dr. Ro-feinated beverages or alcohol. They may exer-largely unavoidable day-to-day hassles of mod-bert Sapolsky… “Suppose that you are in your cise less. They may forget, or not have time, to ern living. sixties, overweight, and just on the edge of insu-check their glucose levels as often as they lin-resistance. Along comes a period of chronic The research is very clear… Stress and nega-should. stress with those stress hormones repeatedly tive emotions such as anger, hostility, anxiety, Second, stress hormones may also alter blood telling your cells what a great idea it is to be in-fear, helplessness, hopelessness, and depres-glucose directly. Acute stress causes the re-sulin-resistant. Enough of this and you pass the sion all have similar effects on the body; they lease of various stress hormones into the blood-threshold for becoming overtly diabetic.” (p.62) activate the sympathetic branch of the autonom-stream which temporarily increase the release ic nervous system (ANS) reducing insulin secre-Research is clear... a chronically-stressful life-of glucose into the bloodstream from its storage tion and increasing blood glucose levels, heart style or having an exaggerated stress response in fat cells throughout the body while simulta-rate, blood pressure, and arterial constriction. to the many daily stressors in modern life is as-neously blocking insulin secretion from the pan-sociated with less well-controlled diabetes. creas. Moreover, these stress hormones also OK, Stress is Bad. So, What Can act on fat cells throughout the body to make
I Do About It? them less sensitive to insulin. Stress promotes Modern Stress is Primarily
insulin resistance. Psychological Stress The keys to reducing the effects of stress on
your health are: Increased insulin resistance is bad news for both Our bodies are well-designed to respond to rela-insulin-dependent (Type I) and insulin-resistant (1) Learn to recognize what things stress tively short-term physical threats or stressors. (Type II) diabetics. As Dr. Robert Sapolsky illu-you. When something big and threatening jumps out strates so very clearly in his book, Why Zebras of the bushes at us, the sympathetic branch of (2) Learn to avoid or reduce your exposure Don’t Get Ulcers… “Why is this bad for some-our autonomic nervous system is activated and to the things that cause you stress one with insulin-dependent (Type I) diabetes? instantly prepares our bodies for “fight or flight”. where you can. They have everything nice and balanced, with a Such stressful events are likely to be resolved— healthy diet, a good sensitivity to their body’s (3) Learn to be aware of how certain one way or another-- relatively quickly and, signals as to when a little insulin is needed, and thoughts and ways of thinking can in-once over, sympathetic activation is shut down so on. But throw in some chronic stress, and crease your feelings of stress and result and the parasympathetic branch of our auto-suddenly the insulin doesn’t work quite as well, in more negative emotions that are nomic nervous system becomes more active causing the person to feel terrible until they fig-stressful in and of themselves. and brings us back to a more relaxed and ba-ure out that they need to inject more insulin…
(4) Learn to reduce your negative thoughts Dr. Mueller’s treatment approach is primarily (780) 485-9468 and to think in more positive ways that cognitive-behavioural and psychophysiological, will diminish feelings of depression, an-emphasizing the complex interconnectedness of E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org xiety, anger and hostility. mind and body. URL: www.drmueller-healthpsychology.com
(5) Learn to quickly and easily recognize His clients encompass a wide age range, from your body’s physiological reaction to preteens to seniors, with a broad range of health stress. Stress Management problems. (6) Learn to bring balance back to your au-Many of the people who come to see Dr. Muel-tonomic nervous system through bio-for Diabetics ler have long-standing psychological or chronic feedback training of proper physiologi-health pain conditions. cal relaxation—the reduction of both
sympathetic and parasympathetic Cost. Psychological and biofeedback therapies arousal and their balancing. are not covered by Alberta Health Care Insur-Learn to Reduce the Effects ance but are frequently covered by private Dr. Horst Mueller, RPsych, offers individual
group or individual extended health care insur-stress management counselling for persons with of Stress and Negative
ance plans. In certain cases, WCB or motor ve-diabetes or who are at high risk for developing Emotions on Blood Glucose hicles insurance will pay the costs of psycholog-glucose intolerance and adult-onset (Type II)
ical treatment. Check with your insurance pro-diabetes that combines cognitive-behavioural vider. therapy with biofeedback training.
Dr. Mueller offers free initial consultations and a Dr. Mueller can help you to better manage your
sliding fee scale for uninsured or financially-chronic health condition.
Who is Dr. Mueller? For more information, contact…
Dr. Horst Mueller is an Alberta-registered
psychologist with a special interest in clinical Dr. Horst H. Mueller health psychology and applied psychophysiolo-
gy. He is listed with the Canadian Register of Registered Psychologist Health Service Providers in Psychology (CRHSPP) and is certified by the Biofeedback
Certification Institute of America (BCIA). He is Private Practice in Clinical also affliated with a number of voluntary profes-and Health Psychology sional associations and societies, including the
Psychologists’ Association of Alberta (PAA), the Dr. Horst H. Mueller Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), the
Canadian Pain Society (CPS), the Association Registered Psychologist for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
(AAPB), and the International Society for Private Practice in Clinical Neuronal Regulation (ISNR).
Dr. Mueller has over 30 years of experience and Health Psychology
working as a clinical psychologist in psychiatric,
general and rehabilitation hospital settings, com-Green Apple Health Care munity mental health clinics, and private prac-Green Apple Health Care
9148-23 Avenue, Suite 221 tice settings treating both children and adults. 9148-23 Avenue, Suite 221