Bipolar affective disorder and psychoeducation.

OBJECTIVE: Bipolar affective disorder runs a natural course of frequent relapses and recurrences. Despite significant strides in the pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder, most bipolar patients cannot be treated only by drugs. The limitations of using medication alone in symptomatic, relapse prevention, and satisfaction/quality of life terms have long prompted interest in wider forms of management. One of the promising way how to enhance remission seems to be combination of pharmacotherapy and psychoeducation.

METHODS: Studies were identified through PUBMED, Web of Science and Scopus databases as well as existing reviews. The search terms included "bipolar disorder", "psychoeducation", "psychotherapy", "psychosocial treatment", "family therapy", "individual therapy", "group therapy", and "psychoeducation". The search was performed by repeated use of the words in different combinations with no language or time limitations. This article is a review with conclusions concerned with psychoeducation in bipolar disorder.

CONCLUSIONS: Randomized controlled trials of cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, individual, group and family psychoeducation show that these approaches augment stabilizing effect of pharmacotherapy. Patients and their families should be educated about bipolar disorder, triggers, warning signs, mood relapse, suicidal ideation, and the effectiveness of early intervention to reduce complications. Psychosocial approaches are important therapeutic strategies for reducing relapse and rehospitalization in bipolar disorder.

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