Diabetes Forecast

A New Group Therapy Helps Diabetic Women Combat Depression

What to Know

Depression often goes hand in hand with diabetes, affecting about a quarter of those with the disease. It takes a severe physical toll, worsening a variety of health measures, including blood glucose levels, and it increases the chance of an early death. Women with diabetes are at particularly high risk of depression; they are twice as likely as men to develop the often debilitating mood disorder. Depression medications can cause weight gain and increases in glucose levels. For that reason, researchers want to develop depression therapies that don’t require drugs for people with diabetes. This study examined one such program.

The Study

A total of 74 women with type 2 diabetes and symptoms of depression enrolled in the 8-week study. Half received standard care, while the other half were enrolled in a new group therapy program designed for women that aims to reduce negative thoughts and emotions. Weekly hour-long sessions, led by a nurse, addressed depression and diabetes education as well as cognitive behavioral therapy strategies to manage depression, anxiety, and anger.

The Results

At the end of the study, the women who had participated in group therapy felt less depressed, anxious, and angry than the women who received only standard care. The therapy did not affect blood glucose levels for better or worse, however.


If you are a woman with depression and diabetes, consider group therapy. It may benefit both your mental and physical health over the long term. You may have the best experience in a program run by someone highly trained to address both diabetes and depression.

A Psychoeducational Intervention (SWEEP) for Depressed Women with Diabetes. By Sue M. Penckofer and colleagues. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, October 2012;44:192–206 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12160-012-9377-2

The information on this screen does not take the place of care from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have general questions about diabetes or diabetes-related research, e-mail askada@diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2382).



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