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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 50 (2008) 8, 509 - 518

Review article

Psychoeducation in the treatment of bipolar disorder

P. Sienaert, J. De Fruyt

background There is a increasing interest in psychosocial treatment strategies for bipolar disorder. An essential ingredient of various psychosocial treatment models is psychoeducation (pe), which can also be used on its own as a psychotherapeutic strategy.
aim To search the literature systematically in order to discover the efficacy of pe for the treatment of bipolar disorder.
method Medline was searched using mesh-terms 'bipolar disorder', 'psychotherapy' and 'patient education', and the search term 'psychoeducation'.
results Thirty-four trials on psychoeducation for bipolar patients were found. The studies showed that pe can widen the patient's knowledge about the disorder and its treatment, and increase compliance and prevent relapse when offered to patients in remission.
conclusion pe should be part of the standard treatment for patients with bipolar disorder. Further study should reveal in which phase of the disease, for which subgroup of patients and under what circumstances pe can best be offered.

keywords bipolar disorder, psychoeducation, psychotherapy