Benefits of a Diabetes Support Group
Benefits of participating in support groups may include:
- Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged
- Gaining a sense of empowerment and control
- Improving your coping skills and sense of adjustment
- Talking openly and honestly about your feelings
- Reducing distress, depression or anxiety
- Developing a clearer understanding of what to expect with your situation
- Getting practical advice or information about treatment options
- Comparing notes about resources, such as doctors and alternative options
Finding a place where people understand diabetes
Feeling less alone
One of the most common reasons people seek out a diabetes support group is to be with people who understand what it is like to live with or care for someone who has diabetes. Being in the presence of others who go through the same challenges you do can quickly form a bond. There is an implicit understanding of blood sugar checks, insulin injections, food issues and fears around low blood sugar reactions. When that bond forms you no longer feel so different because others help to normalize your everyday experience.
Gain diabetes management insight from others
Diabetes support groups can provide a wealth of information from other participants about what they have learned, tried and gained from both their successes and from the mistakes they’ve made. These are the practical types of information you may never see written in a book or magazine but are valuable all the same.
Freedom to express real emotion
Some days you handle the challenges diabetes presents and others days you are angry that you have this condition or anxious about potential long-term health problems. On some days you might feel helpless or overwhelmed by your condition. These are all normal but difficult to cope with when you experience them. In a diabetes support group you can verbalize your true feelings and it will also help others to know that they are not alone and validate their emotional battles.
Though there are a variety of different experiences living with diabetes, there is one common goal in a diabetes support group: to encourage each other. Diabetes support groups exist for the purpose of creating a safe place where people can be authentic and yet not be judged for their struggles. Most people hesitate to share their real feelings with their healthcare providers, even their diabetes health team, either due to lack of time or because they are not invited to do so. But this type of sharing is the primary purpose of a diabetes support group.
Learn about latest research and treatments
There is a vast amount of research being done to advance the technology designed to treat or even cure diabetes. In fact, some people who attend diabetes support groups would say that they gain the most reliable and immediate access to this type of information through members of their group.