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Psychosocial Interventions for Bipolar Disorder.

W. Edward Craighead, PhD, and David J. Miklowitz, PhD

Published: November 30, 2000

Article Abstract

Patients with bipolar disorder are prone to recurrences even when they are maintained on lithiumor anticonvulsant regimens. The authors argue that the outpatient treatment of bipolar disorder shouldinvolve both somatic and psychosocial components. Psychosocial interventions can enhance patients’ adherence to medications, ability to cope with environmental stress triggers, and social-occupationalfunctioning. Family and marital psychoeducational interventions and individual interpersonal and socialrhythm therapy have received the most empirical support in experimental trials. These interventions,when combined with medications, appear effective in improving symptomatic functioningduring maintenance treatment. A beginning literature also supports the utility of individual cognitive-behavioraland psychoeducational approaches, particularly in enhancing medication adherence. Identifyingthe optimal format for psychosocial treatments and elucidating their mechanisms of action aretopics for further study.

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