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J Abnorm Psychol. 1999 Nov;108(4):555-7.

Psychosocial factors in the course and treatment of bipolar disorder: introduction to the special section.

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


Bipolar disorder is associated with high rates of relapse and high social and economic costs, even when patients are maintained on proper pharmacotherapy. The background and rationale are offered here for a series of articles that address the role of psychosocial agents in the course of bipolar disorder and psychosocial treatments as adjuncts to pharmacotherapy in the disorder's outpatient maintenance. It is argued that stressful life events and disturbances in social-familial support systems affect the cycling of the disorder against the backdrop of genetic, biological and cognitive vulnerabilities. Current models of psychosocial treatment focus on modifying the effects of social or familial risk factors as an avenue for improving the course of the disorder.

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