Behavioral therapy provided during dialysis sessions may combat depression among kidney failure patients

Behavioral therapy provided chair-side to kidney failure patients while they're undergoing dialysis may help fight depression and improve patients' quality of life, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Thanks to advances in medical technology, have the potential to live longer and healthier lives than ever before, but depression is a serious and prevalent problem among them. In addition to taking a toll on individuals' emotional health, depression has also been linked with shortened life spans in . Traditional treatments include either medication or psychotherapy, but dialysis patients are usually on many medications and seldom have the time or energy for additional outpatient appointments.

Daniel Cukor, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center) and his colleagues addressed this hurdle by providing a specially adapted for depression that is provided chair-side, while patients are undergoing dialysis. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches a patient to learn effective self-help skills that help change the way the person currently thinks, feels and behaves. It is action-oriented and helps the patient gain independence and mastery in dealing with issues. "We believe such an intervention is eminently practical and feasible for implementation in dialysis units," explained Dr. Cukor.

The research team tested their strategy in 59 patients undergoing treatment at dialysis centers in New York. In 33 patients, cognitive behavioral therapy was administered chair-side during dialysis treatments for three months. Another 26 patients did not receive behavioral therapy during dialysis. Patients were assessed three and six months later.

Among the major findings:

  • The treatment group achieved significantly larger reductions in depression scores compared with the control group.
  • Among participants with depression diagnosed at the start of the study, 89% in the treatment group were not depressed at the end of treatment, compared with 38% in the control group.
  • Patients in the treatment group experienced greater improvements in quality of life and were better able to control fluid intake between dialysis sessions (which makes the next dialysis session more efficient).

"We were able to have a substantial and positive impact on the level of depression, quality of life, and fluid adherence of dialysis patients, without using any medication and only minimal additional treatment burden on the patient," said Dr. Cukor. "These results are novel and encouraging, as they indicate that despite the complex challenges of life on dialysis, there are now tools that are available to the clinician to address in patients."

More information: The article, entitled "Psychosocial Intervention Improves Depression, Quality of Life, and Fluid Adherence in Hemodialysis," is now online at DOI: 10.1681/ASN2012111134

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peritoneal dialysis as an intervention for stroke patients

Sep 03, 2013

Ischemic stroke is characterized by an interruption of the blood supply to the brain, which can lead to brain damage and even death. Excess amounts of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate are released during stroke events ...

Most women on dialysis may experience sexual problems

Apr 05, 2012

The vast majority of female kidney failure patients on dialysis may experience sexual problems, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). Additional st ...

Recommended for you

Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

5 hours ago

As Africa's leaders meet in Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola crisis, expectations of firm action will be tempered by criticism over the continent's poor record in the early stages of the epidemic.

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

21 hours ago

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

Jan 30, 2015

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

Jan 30, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.