Web-Based Programs May Help People With Diabetes and Depression
What to Know
Depression, which is common among people with diabetes, can make it difficult to follow your self-care plan and control your blood glucose levels. Psychological counseling can help, but face-to- face talk therapy may not be right for everyone. Fortunately, internet-based programs that you can do at your computer may also be effective and convenient. They have worked for people with other chronic conditions, so researchers set out to determine if the program they developed—called GET.ON Mood Enhancer Diabetes (GET.ON M.E.D.)—could reduce depression in people with diabetes.
A total of 260 German adults with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes and moderate to severe depression joined the study. Half of them followed a brief and unguided online educational program about depression. The others took part in the GET.ON M.E.D. program, which was designed to help participants feel better, be more engaged, and solve problems related to their negative feelings about diabetes. They received personalized feedback via e-mail and daily text messages of support. Extra support was offered to those who did not respond to messages for more than a week.
The participants rated their symptoms at the start and end of the two-month study. Comparing the ratings of the two groups, the researchers found that the GET.ON M.E.D. group showed greater improvements in their depression and diabetes-related emotional distress than those in the education- only group, and they seemed to like the program. Only 18 percent dropped out, and 95 percent of those who finished said they would recommend it to a friend with diabetes and depression.
Well-designed web-based programs such as GET.ON M.E.D. may help people with diabetes and depression, especially those who do not have access to or who are not comfortable with face-to- face counseling. In this study, though, most of the participants were well-educated women. The researchers can’t say if the program would benefit others as well. They also don’t know if the program had any effect on their blood glucose control.
Efficacy of a web-based intervention with mobile phone support in treating depressive symptoms in adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. By Nobis and colleagues. Diabetes Care 2015;38:776–783 https://doi.org/10.2337/dc14-1728