Psychotherapy for bipolar disorder: a review of the most recent studies

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The aim of this review is to give an update on recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating psychotherapy for bipolar disorder.

Recent findings

Methodological issues like the inclusion of differing patient populations, differences in who (patients, family members, caregivers) received psychotherapy, and varying follow-up periods make it difficult to compare RCTs. Despite heterogeneous results, the majority of the studies showed relevant positive results in terms of reduced relapse rates, increased quality of life, better functioning or more favorable symptomatic outcome.

Summary

Recent RCTs evaluating psychosocial interventions for bipolar disorder have added to the evidence, thereby broadening existing therapeutic options. These promising results should encourage future studies leading to a better understanding of what kind of patient or caregiver will benefit from what kind of therapy, and how efficient psychosocial interventions can be under routine conditions.

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