Smith DJ, Griffiths E, Poole R, di Florio A, Barnes E, Kelly MJ, Craddock N, Hood K, Simpson S. Beating Bipolar: exploratory trial of a novel internet-based psychoeducational treatment for bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord 2011: 13: 571–577. © 2011 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
Objectives: Psychoeducational approaches are promising interventions for the long-term management of bipolar disorder. In consultation with professionals, patients, and their families we have developed a novel web-based psychoeducational intervention for bipolar disorder called Beating Bipolar. We undertook a preliminary exploratory randomized trial to examine efficacy, feasibility and acceptability.
Methods: This was an exploratory randomized controlled trial of Beating Bipolar (current controlled trials registration number: ISRCTN81375447). The control arm was treatment-as-usual and the a priori primary outcome measure was quality of life [measured by the brief World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL–BREF) scale]. Secondary outcomes included psychosocial functioning, insight, depressive and manic symptoms and relapse, and use of healthcare resources. Fifty participants were randomized to either the Beating Bipolar intervention plus treatment-as-usual or just treatment-as-usual. The intervention was delivered over a four-month period and outcomes were assessed six months later.
Results: There was no significant difference between the intervention and control groups on the primary outcome measure (total WHOQOL–BREF score) but there was a modest improvement within the psychological subsection of the WHOQOL–BREF for the intervention group relative to the control group. There were no significant differences between the groups on any of the secondary outcome measures.
Conclusions: Beating Bipolar is potentially a safe and engaging intervention which can be delivered remotely to large numbers of patients with bipolar disorder at relatively low cost. It may have a modest effect on psychological quality of life. Further work is required to establish the impact of this intervention on insight, knowledge, treatment adherence, self-efficacy and self-management skills.