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Psychotherapy can help teens control diabetes


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Psychotherapy can help teens control diabetes


By Will Boggs, MD


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Intensive, home-based psychotherapy can significantly reduce diabetes-related stress in adolescents with type 1 diabetes, according to a report in journal Pediatrics.

"Although medical care providers often feel frustrated when caring for difficult families such as these," Dr. Deborah A. Ellis from Wayne State University, Detroit, told Reuters Health, there are treatments that may improve the psychosocial well-being, adherence and health outcome of teens who do not adhere to treatment of their type I diabetes, also know as "juvenile" diabetes.

Ellis and colleagues investigated whether intensive psychotherapy that targets the family and barriers to good treatment adherence could reduce the diabetes-relation stress that adolescents feel, and whether this improves adherence and diabetes control.

Adolescents who underwent psychotherapy experienced significantly reduced levels of stress compared with those who did not have psychotherapy, the authors report. The intervention appeared equally effective for younger and older subjects, males and females, and adolescents of different races.

Diabetes stress was associated with disease control at the beginning of the study and after treatment, but there was no association between disease control and age or ethnicity.

Improvements in metabolic control were attributed mainly to the specific effect of psychotherapy on adherence, the researchers note.

In light of these encouraging findings, Ellis added that "we are currently following up our sample to determine the long-term stability of our intervention effects. We are also adapting the model for youth with other chronic illnesses such as HIV infection, asthma and morbid obesity."

SOURCE: Pediatrics, December 2005.

©2006 Reuters Health. Click for restrictions.

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