Empirically Supported Psychosocial Interventions For Bipolar Disorder: Current State Of The Research

Research Summary | May 18, 2017

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Key Messages

  • Although psychiatric medication is a critical component of treatment for bipolar disorder (BD), pharmacotherapy alone does not maintain most patients in remission or euthymia.
  • In combination with medication, adjunctive psychotherapy interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms and preventing relapse.
  • In an assessment of randomized, controlled studies assessing the use of psychotherapy in patients with BD, psychoeducation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family therapies were the most efficacious at improving outcomes such as reducing depressive symptoms, improving medication adherence, and improving quality of life.
  • Preliminary research indicates that dialectical behavior therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may also be effective therapies, although further research is needed to evaluate efficacy in patients currently experiencing severe depressive symptoms.

The following is a summary of Salcedo S, Gold AK, Sheikh S, Marcus PH, Nierenberg AA, Deckersbach T, Sylvia LG. Empirically supported psychosocial interventions for bipolar disorder: current state of the research. J Affect Disord. 2016;201:203-14, which was developed independently of the article authors. Background When treated with psychotropic medication alone, 40% of patients with BD experience a mood episode recurrence within 1 year. Pharmacotherapy nonadherence,…

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