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Approaches to Preventing Relapse in Bipolar Disorder: Addressing Nonadherence and Prodromal Symptoms

Alan C. Swann, MD

Published: December 15, 2010

Article Abstract

The goals of maintenance treatment for euthymic patients with bipolar disorder are to prevent recurrence of acute episodes and to optimize the patient’s adaptive functioning. Although medications are the primary treatment for preventing relapse, patient outcomes can be enhanced through the use of psychosocial interventions that address barriers to treatment success such as nonadherence to medication and lack of patient or caregiver understanding of the illness. Patients can learn to take an active and responsible role in managing their illness, including monitoring their symptoms to recognize prodromal signs of relapse, protecting daily social rhythms and routines, and maintaining healthy activities.

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