Depression and Type 2 Diabetes: Dissecting the Causal Mechanisms


  • Awani Kumar Diwakar SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, 603203, India



Depression, Diabetes, Pituitary, Psychological, Neuroendocrine


Depression and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) are two prevalent and debilitating chronic conditions that often coexist and exhibit a bidirectional relationship. This review paper aims to dissect the causal mechanisms underlying the association between depression and T2D, shedding light on the complex interplay between these two disorders. Epidemiological evidence suggests a robust association between depression and an increased risk of developing T2D, as well as a reciprocal relationship where T2D serves as a risk factor for depression onset. Various biological, psychological, and behavioral mechanisms have been proposed to underlie this bidirectional relationship. Depression is thought to contribute to the development of T2D through dysregulation of neuroendocrine pathways, increased inflammation, alterations in lifestyle behaviors, and poor treatment adherence. Conversely, T2D may exacerbate or precipitate depression through mechanisms involving insulin resistance, hyperglycemia-induced neuronal damage, inflammation, and the impact of chronic illness on psychological well-being. Shared pathophysiological mechanisms between depression and T2D, including dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, insulin signaling pathways, and inflammatory processes, further contribute to their co-occurrence. Psychosocial factors such as socioeconomic status, social support, and access to healthcare also play significant roles in shaping the depression-T2D relationship. Integrated care models that address both physical and mental health needs, along with targeted interventions addressing lifestyle modifications and psychosocial support, are essential for managing these comorbid conditions effectively. Future research directions include longitudinal studies to elucidate temporal associations, intervention trials targeting shared mechanisms, and precision medicine approaches to identify subgroups at heightened risk. Understanding the causal mechanisms underlying the depression-T2D relationship is crucial for informing clinical practice, public health strategies, and the development of personalized interventions aimed at mitigating the burden of these interconnected disorders.


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How to Cite

Awani Kumar Diwakar. Depression and Type 2 Diabetes: Dissecting the Causal Mechanisms. Sumat. Med. J. [Internet]. 2024May1 [cited 2024Jun.19];7(2):106-14. Available from: