Psychotherapy for bipolar depression: a phase-specific treatment strategy?

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, PA, USA.
Bipolar Disorders (Impact Factor: 4.89). 03/2001; 3(1):11-22. DOI: 10.1034/j.1399-5618.2001.030102.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is particularly difficult to treat. Pharmacologic strategies for bipolar depression are often inadequate. We therefore review the literature on the role of psychotherapy as an adjunct to medication in the treatment of bipolar depression.
With one exception, there are no descriptions of psychotherapies employed specifically for the treatment of bipolar depression. We therefore reviewed published reports of psychotherapy for bipolar disorder in general and extracted from these reports relevant data or impressions about the specific effects of the therapies on the depressive phase of the disorder.
Described psychosocial approaches to bipolar disorder include psychoeducation, group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, couples therapy, family therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy. Only cognitive-behavioral therapy has been tested in a pilot study for the treatment of bipolar depression specifically. Results from randomized controlled trials of family therapy and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy suggest that these treatments may be more efficacious in the treatment and prevention of depression relative to mania.
A limited number of well-designed studies and preponderance of case reports limit definitive conclusions about the role of psychotherapy in the treatment of bipolar depression. However, converging reports suggest that cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy may be particularly useful for bipolar depression. We propose a novel approach to the treatment of bipolar disorder that includes the use of phase-specific sequenced psychotherapies delivered in variable patterns and linked to fluctuating mood states.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Bipolar disorders (BD) are mainly characterized by emotional and cognitive processing impairment. The cerebral substrate explaining BD impairment and the action mechanisms of therapies are not completely understood, especially for psychosocial interventions. This fMRI study aims at assessing cerebral correlates of euthymic bipolar patients (EBP) before and after psychoeducation therapy. Sixteen EBP and 16 matched healthy subjects (HS) performed a word-face emotional Stroop task in two separate fMRI sessions at 3-month interval. Between fMRI sessions, EBP underwent psychoeducation. Before psychoeducation, the comparison of EBP vs. HS in fMRI data revealed (a) significant decreased activity of cognitive control regions such as bilateral inferior and left superior frontal gyri, right insula, right fusiform gyrus and bilateral occipital gyri and (b) significant increased activity of emotion-related processing regions such as bilateral hippocampus, parahippocampal gyri and the left middle temporal gyrus. After psychoeducation, EBP showed significant clinical improvement, increased activity of inferior frontal gyri and a tendency toward decreased activity of right hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus. These results suggest that the imbalance between cognitive control and emotion processing systems characterizing BD acute episodes may persist during euthymic periods. Moreover, this imbalance may be improved by psychoeducation, which enhances the cognitive control and modulates emotional fluctuations in EBP.
    Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging 07/2013; 214(3):285-295. DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2013.07.007 · 2.83 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Bipolar disorder is a chronic and recurring disorder associated with significant psychosocial impairment. A number of psychosocial interventions have been developed to address impairment. The consensus makes mood stabilizer the treatment of bipolar disorder. However, numerous patients are not in complete remission despite a controlled observance. Every patient can follow a psycho educational program. What this paper adds. The review identifies that a range of interventions have demonstrated efficacy in extended periods of euthymia, improved social and occupational functioning and alleviation of subsyndromal symptoms. Adjunctive, short-term psychotherapies have been shown to offer fairly consistent benefits to bipolar disorder patients. Cognitive-behavioural therapy, family-focused therapy, and psychoeducation offer the most robust efficacy in regard to relapse prevention. The most complex situations including comorbidities can be helped by behavioral and cognitive therapy for bipolar disorder. Evaluations emphasize positive impact. The psychosocial interventions reviewed provide mental health nurses with evidence-based approaches to improving mental health care for patients with bipolar disorder. There is a need for mental health nurses to conduct high quality trials of the clinical effectiveness of these interventions.
    L Encéphale 12/2012; 38:S160–S166. DOI:10.1016/S0013-7006(12)70094-5 · 0.60 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: In the last years there has been a growing number of studies using psychotherapy approaches in the treatment of bipolar patients. However, little is known about the effects of these approaches. OBJECTIVE: Evaluate the effectiveness of Group Therapy in the treatment of bipolar affective disorder. METHOD: Review of the literature using Medline, Lilacs, PubMed e ISI, selecting English language articles published between the years of 1975 and 2005. The reference sections of the selected articles, review articles and specialized books were also consulted. Only randomized controlled trails, with more than twenty subjects, were selected. RESULTS: Five published studies were identified; three of them have been published in the last five years. In three of the selected studies, models of Psychoeducation were used, showing an increase in the adherence to the pharmacological treatment. One showed reduction in the number of relapses and hospital admissions. The other two studies combined psychoeducation with some other form of psychotherapeutic approach. In one of them, not only an increase in the remission period but also symptom reduction was identified, concerning manic episodes. DISCUSSION: There has been a growing interest in evidence based psychotherapy interventions for the treatment of bipolar affective disorder over the last years. This fact contrasts with the low number of studies dedicated to group therapy, which could be very useful in institutions where a great number of patients are assisted. The clinical complexities of this disease, the presence of several comorbidities and the different levels of adherence to pharmacotherapy demand the development of diverse therapeutic options, in order to meet the needs of each individual. The studies show that group therapy could be an effective treatment option that deserves better investigations so that it can be used in clinical practice.
    Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica 12/2006; 34(2):84-89. DOI:10.1590/S0101-60832007000200004 · 0.89 Impact Factor