Aims: Compared to the population as a whole, patients with diabetes mellitus suffer a significantly higher rate of depressive symptoms, especially when they develop complications. Psychotherapy treatments in diabetes mellitus can lead to improvements in both depressive symptoms and glycaemic control. The objective of this study was to investigate whether depressive symptoms can be reduced by psychotherapy treatment delivered as a joint interdisciplinary service to in-patients with diabetic foot syndrome and comorbid depression.
Methods: Thirty in-patients with diabetic foot syndrome and comorbid depression were randomized to either an intervention group (n = 15) with supportive psychotherapy treatment or a control group (n = 15) that received only standard medical treatment. Patients completed a set of questionnaires at the beginning and end of treatment. These recorded sociodemographic variables, anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and diabetes-related problems (Problem Areas in Diabetes Scale).
Results: Although the diabetic foot syndrome improved significantly in 75% of patients, the extent of depressive symptoms and anxiety reported by the control group did not decrease by the end of treatment. In contrast, in the intervention group, anxiety, depression and diabetes-related problems were all reduced. The extent of anxiety and depression was not, as had been anticipated, associated with the severity of the physical symptoms.
Conclusions: These results indicate that psychotherapeutic intervention during in-patient treatment can have a positive influence on anxiety, depressive symptoms and diabetes-related problems in patients with diabetic foot syndrome.