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Psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral therapy in bipolar disorder: an update


Dr Ana Gonzalez-Pinto, Psychiatric Department, Santiago Apostol Hospital, Olaguibel 29, 01004 Vitoria, Spain


Objective:  To review the available literature on psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in bipolar disorder (BD) and to give an integral view of these therapies.

Method:  Studies were identified through Medline searches in English language publications between 1971 and 2003. This was supplemented by a hand search and the inclusion of selected descriptive articles on good clinical practice.

Results:  A number of studies demonstrate that psychoeducation enhances adherence to treatment, and one finds that it improves outcome in BD. Other studies find that CBT diminishes depressive symptoms and improves quality of life in BD. Occasionally some adverse effects may occur with psychotherapy and, although they are sporadic, should not be overlooked.

Conclusion:  When combined with pharmacological treatment, psychoeducation helps to improve adherence. Training in the identification of early manic symptoms helps to improve outcomes and decreases the number of manic relapses in BD.

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