Psychological treatment for bipolar disorders

A review of randomised controlled trials


The increased acceptance of stress-vulnerability models of severe mental disorders and of brief evidence-based psychological treatments in their treatment has finally led to increased interest in the role of psychotherapies in bipolar disorders. This paper reviews the results from randomised controlled trials of psychological therapies as an adjunct to standard medications. The evidence suggests that the addition of a psychological therapy may significantly reduce symptoms, enhance social adjustment and functioning, and reduce relapses and hospitalisations in patients with bipolar disorder. However, the methodological problems in the published randomised controlled trials and the heterogeneity in the outcomes achieved (some therapies reduce manic but not depressive relapses, others have the opposite effect) suggests that further studies are required to fully establish the place of these approaches in day to day practice.

Key words

psychological treatments psychotherapy mood disorders manic depression bipolar disorders randomized controlled trials 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychological Treatments ResearchInstitute of PsychiatryLondon, SE5 8AFUK

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