Depression treatment can help diabetes patients

Many diabetics also suffer from depression. A study released in April shows treating depression in consumers with type 2 diabetes can bring benefits to their overall health.

Scientists at the Ann Arbor Healthcare System and the University of Michigan Health System showed that addressing depression in consumers with diabetes’ improved health, including reduction in depression and blood pressure during a year-long study. They initially used cognitive behavioral therapy sessions by telephone combined with a specially trained nurse before phasing in a walking program.

The study, published in the April edition of Medical Care, found this intervention helped to ease depressive symptoms, reduce blood pressure and raise the level of physical activity undertaken by around four miles of walking per week. By the end of the year, 58 per cent of the patients that received the intervention had depression symptoms in remission, compared with just 39 per cent of those who did not get counseling.

A Randomized Trial of Telephonic Counseling Plus Walking for Depressed Diabetes Patients
Piette, John D. PhD; Richardson, Caroline MD; Himle, Joseph PhD; Duffy, Sonia PhD, RN; Torres, Trissa MD; Vogel, Mark PhD; Barber, Kimberly PhD; Valenstein, Marcia MD

Patients with diabetes and depression often have self-management needs that require between-visit support. This study evaluated the impact of telephone-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) targeting patients’ management of depressive symptoms, physical activity levels, and diabetes-related outcomes.

Two hundred ninety-one patients with type 2 diabetes and significant depressive symptoms were included in the study. A telephone CBT program was delivered weekly by nurses for 12 weeks, followed by 9 monthly booster sessions. Sessions initially focused exclusively on patients’ depression management and then added a pedometer-based walking program. Baseline A1c levels were relatively good and there was no difference in A1c at follow-up. Patients experienced a decrease in systolic blood pressure relative to controls (P=0.05). Intervention patients had significantly greater increases in step counts. Intervention patients also experienced relative improvements in coping and health-related quality of life. This program of telephone-delivered CBT combined with a pedometer-based walking program did not improve A1c values, but significantly decreased patients’ blood pressure, increased physical activity, and decreased depressive symptoms. The intervention also improved patients’ functioning and quality of life.

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