An Integrative Cognitive-behavioral Approach for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Pilot Study

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Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic illness with a multifactorial etiology, which includes psychophysiological and behavioral factors. Patients often do not achieve sufficient metabolic balance despite provision of maximal medical treatment. Numerous studies have demonstrated that psychologic processes play an important role in this balance. Most previous intervention studies do not address multiple risk factors simultaneously, within an integrative framework. The current study looked for the effect of an integrative cognitive-behavioral intervention on T2DM patients by monitoring both metabolic control and psychologic state.A pilot study was conducted with 11 T2DM elderly patients who participated in an integrative interdisciplinary group intervention program. Participants were provided with nutritional instruction and stress-reduction techniques such as cognitive-behavioral skills, relaxation, and physical exercise.Baseline and postintervention comparisons showed a statistically significant reduction in lipids, glycosylated hemoglobin, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and in anxiety and depression in all participants. Future studies on larger groups of patients are needed to substantiate these preliminary findings and explore the mechanisms underlying the relationship between behavioral and biologic parameters in T2DM.

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