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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 48 (2006) 12, 905 - 913

New research

Psychotherapeutic treatment options for bipolar disorders. A review of randomized controlled studies

B. van den Berg, E.A.M. Knoppert-van der Klein, J. van Zaane

background Until recently research into the efficacy of treatment of bipolar disorders focused mainly on the pharmacological treatment. Over the last few years more and more research has concentrated on the psychological treatments for bipolar disorders.
aim To review published, controlled and randomised studies dealing with the efficacy of forms of psychotherapeutic treatment for bipolar disorders.
method By searching Medline and Embase using the search terms, 'psychotherapy', 'cognitive (behavioural) therapy', 'family therapy' and 'psychoeducation' we found eight relevant reports of randomised, controlled trials, which described the interventions that were undertaken and recorded the relapse rates.
results The following forms of treatment were investigated: Relapse-Prevention Plan, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy, Family-Focused Treatment and Group Psychoeducation. These forms of treatment were used in addition to standard pharmacological treatment. The addition of psychotherapeutic treatment was found to reduce lower the relapse rate, to lead to less hospitalisation and to improve functioning.
conclusion The authors recommend that patients with bipolar disorders be offered psychotherapeutic treatment because it is likely to lower the risk of relapse.

keywords bipolar disorder, psychotherapy, randomized controlled trials, treatment effectiveness