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Cognitive-behavioural therapy for severe and recurrent bipolar disorders: randomised trials

03 Nov

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry in London, UK compared the effectiveness of treatment as usual with an additional 22 sessions of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) in 253 individuals with bipolar disorders, to see if recurrence rates of major mood episodes could be reduced. . Patients were assessed every 8 weeks for 18 months.


The study found that more than half of the patients had a recurrence by 18 months, with no significant differences between groups (hazard ratio=1.05; 95% CI 0.74-1.50). Post hoc analysis showed that adjunctive CBT was significantly more effective than treatment as usual in those with fewer than 12 previous episodes, but less effective in those with more episodes.

The study concludes that people with bipolar disorder with relatively fewer previous mood episodes may benefit from CBT. However, such cases form the minority of those receiving mental healthcare.

Citation: Scott J, Paykel E, Morriss R, Bentall R, Kinderman P, Johnson T, Abbott R, Hayhurst H. Cognitive-behavioural therapy for severe and recurrent bipolar disorders: randomised controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry. 2006 Apr;188:313-20. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award