A Psychoeducational Intervention (SWEEP) for Depressed Women with Diabetes
New group therapy program fights depression, anxiety, and anger in women with type 2 diabetes better than usual care. By Sue M. Penckofer and colleagues. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, October 2012;44:192–206
What is the problem and what is known about it so far?
Depression is common in people with diabetes, affecting about a quarter of those with the disease. Women are at an even higher risk with twice the risk for depression as men. Depression takes a real physical toll on people with diabetes, worsening a variety of health measures including blood glucose levels, and can lead to premature death.
Why did the researchers do this particular study?
While antidepressant medications can be an effective treatment for depression, they are associated with weight gain and increases in blood glucose levels. For this reason, researchers want to develop nonmedication depression treatments that are effective in people with diabetes. While there are programs that target depression specifically, there are no programs that combat the range of unwelcome emotions that often accompany depression, such as anxiety and anger. The researchers developed such a program and used this study to test it.
Who was studied?
The study included 74 women with symptoms of depression and with diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
How was the study done?
The researchers enrolled half of the participants in the new SWEEP program, which focused on “cleaning the mind and body of negative thoughts and emotions,” while the rest received the usual care. The SWEEP participants attended hour-long structured group therapy sessions, lead by a nurse, once a week for 8 weeks. The sessions focused on recognizing the symptoms of depression, learning how depression can affect diabetes, and managing depression, anxiety, and anger with tricks from cognitive behavioral therapy.
What did the researchers find?
Women in the SWEEP program had reduced their depression, anxiety, and anger more than those who received the usual care. Blood glucose levels did not differ significantly between the groups.
What were the limitations of the study?
The nurse who led the SWEEP program was highly trained, so it is unclear whether other nurses would be able to deliver SWEEP as effectively.
What are the implications of the study?
A structured group therapy plan may help women with type 2 diabetes treat depression and its symptoms, which may help with long-term mental and physical well being.
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