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J Clin Psychiatry. 2000;61 Supp 13:58-64.

Psychosocial interventions for bipolar disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0345, USA.


Patients with bipolar disorder are prone to recurrences even when they are maintained on lithium or anticonvulsant regimens. The authors argue that the outpatient treatment of bipolar disorder should involve both somatic and psychosocial components. Psychosocial interventions can enhance patients' adherence to medications, ability to cope with environmental stress triggers, and social-occupational functioning. Family and marital psychoeducational interventions and individual interpersonal and social rhythm therapy have received the most empirical support in experimental trials. These interventions, when combined with medications, appear effective in improving symptomatic functioning during maintenance treatment. A beginning literature also supports the utility of individual cognitive-behavioral and psychoeducational approaches, particularly in enhancing medication adherence. Identifying the optimal format for psychosocial treatments and elucidating their mechanisms of action are topics for further study.

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