Defining and Achieving Recovery From Bipolar Disorder

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Management of bipolar disorder in many ways is similar to the management of schizophrenia in that the goals in the treatment of both disorders are to avoid rehospitalization, manage behavioral symptoms, and promote functional recovery. This review will define functional recovery in bipolar disorder, discuss relapse prevention, and consider some implications for treatment. The most notable implication for treatment is that clinicians need to use stricter criteria when defining recovery in bipolar disorder. Recovery should not be defined merely by symptomatic remission or even syndromal remission; rather, recovery should include symptomatic recovery, syndromal recovery, functional recovery, and a return to an acceptable quality of life for the patient.

J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(suppl 9):14-18