HI, I'M DR. MARK HEYMAN

Insulin Pumps and Your Mental Health

The decision to use an insulin pump is a big deal. Insulin pumps are amazing technology and can make diabetes easier.

But switching to a pump also means changing the way you think about and manage diabetes. This mental shift can be stressful and can come with some unique concerns. The more you’re aware of these issues as you’re thinking about using a pump, the more prepared you’ll be to deal with them, if they come up.

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Here are some things to think about as you are making your decision about whether an insulin pump is right for you.

Being attached

Using an insulin pump means always having something attached to your body. You may be concerned wearing a pump will be uncomfortable, or it will be a constant reminder you have diabetes. You may also worry the pump will get in the way when you are active.

These concerns are totally normal. Most people find wearing a pump is no big deal, and most of the time, they don’t even notice it, even when they’re active. Also, they realize the benefits of using an insulin pump – like better blood sugars and ease of use – outweigh the downside of always having something attached to you.

Control

People with T1D like to feel like they’re in control. Using an insulin pump means giving up some control over your diabetes management to a machine. The newest insulin pumps use an algorithm to adjust how much insulin you’re getting based on your blood sugar readings. Some people worry using a pump means they have to give up some control of their diabetes, and this causes anxiety.

It may take time for you to trust your insulin pump can do a good job managing your blood sugar, and that’s ok. For the pump to do its job, you have to trust it. When you let go of control and let the pump do its job, you’ll probably find you gain control in other areas of your life because you’re not spending so much time thinking about diabetes.

DON'T LET T1D HOLD YOU BACK!

The Ultimate Guide To Getting Unstuck With Type 1 Diabetes gives you strategies you can start using TODAY to insert flexibility into your life with T1D.

GET YOUR FREE GUIDE HERE

Burden

Managing T1D is hard work and it takes up lots of time and energy. Some people are concerned using an insulin pump will make T1D even more challenging. They worry using a pump will come with a steep learning curve, and along with other hassles like alarms, site changes, and supply orders, a pump will just increase the burden of diabetes.

The challenges of using an insulin pump are different than the challenges of multiple daily injections (MDI). It does take a bit more time and organization to make sure you have what you need and troubleshoot when things go wrong. However, most people find that once they get into a rhythm with it, the burden of pumping is much less than they thought it would be.

Feeling stuck

Some people are reluctant to go on the pump because they think they’ll be stuck using it for four years (the length of most pump warranties). Just because you have an insulin pump does not mean you have to use it all the time. You get to choose how to give yourself insulin, and you can change your mind whenever you want.

Getting a pump does not mean you are stuck in how you manage your diabetes. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Having an insulin pump gives you more options for managing diabetes, not less!

A pump can make life with T1D easier, but in the end, only you get to decide what’s best for you. As you make your decision, don’t forget to think about how using a pump will affect your mental health – for better or for worse.

Your Action Plan:

  1. If you don’t use an insulin pump right now, why not? Do you identify with any of concerns in this post?
  2. If you are on the fence about a pump, talk to someone who uses a pump to hear about their experience.
  3. If you use an insulin pump, share your experience with someone else.
  4. Post your experience using an insulin pump or deciding to use an insulin pump using the hashtag #diabetesmentalhealth. What made you take the leap? What’s held you back? Please tag @thediabetespsychologist in your post.
  5. Share this post if you found it helpful!