Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-s5ss2 Total loading time: 0.523 Render date: 2021-02-28T03:06:47.344Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Psychoeducation for bipolar disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]

Summary

Bipolar disorder is a complex disorder of mood and behaviour that requires a multimodal treatment approach. In the past 10 years there has been growing interest in psychoeducational interventions delivered as adjuncts to conventional management. Several studies have tested the effectiveness of psychoeducational treatments delivered in a variety of formats. In this article we assess the evidence for the efficacy of these interventions and consider the likely future role of structured psychoeducational treatments in clinical practice.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2010 

What is psychoeducation?

Most clinicians would agree that patients with any chronic disorder – such as diabetes, epilepsy or ischaemic heart disease – should, as part of their routine care, be given accurate information about their diagnosis, treatment and prognosis and about how they can help themselves to stay well. In broad terms, this kind of information can be considered ‘psychoeducation’. Similarly, psychoeducation as applied to bipolar disorder can be defined as any intervention that educates patients and their families about their illness with a view to improving their long-term outcome.

Although the principal goal of psychoeducation for bipolar disorder is to provide accurate and reliable information, additional objectives include teaching patients self-management skills and making them more able to make informed decisions about their own management within the context of a collaborative working relationship with their clinical team. Where possible, psychoeducational interventions should also be personalised, for example, by taking account of an individual's unique pattern of illness, their risk factors for relapse and their current social circumstances. Although most patients with bipolar disorder who are currently managed within community mental health teams in the UK will have access to good psychoeducational material, a formal structured psychoeducational intervention is only rarely available.

How can psychoeducation for bipolar disorder be delivered?

Psychoeducational interventions can be delivered in a number of ways. They can be provided to individual patients (either one-to-one or within a group setting), to their families and/or carers and to groups of professionals (for example, training in psychoeducational methods for community psychiatric nurses). A range of media are used, including written, audio, video and interactive or online delivery and many interventions blend more than one delivery method to maximise the impact and retention of material.

How effective are psychoeducational interventions for bipolar disorder?

Although the first published reports of psychoeducation for bipolar disorder date back to the 1980s and early 1990s (Reference CochranCochran 1984; Reference Harvey and PeetHarvey 1991; Reference Peet and HarveyPeet 1991; Reference Van Gent and ZwartVan Gent 1993), many of these studies had significant methodological shortcomings (including small sample sizes, brief follow-up periods and no control group comparisons). However, over the past decade a number of higher-quality randomised clinical trials of psychoeducational interventions have been published. These studies are summarised in Table 1 and are discussed in more detail below.

Individual psychoeducation

There is a paucity of studies examining individual or ‘one-to-one’ psychoeducation. Only one randomised trial to date has compared one-to-one sessions of psychoeducation plus routine care against routine care alone (Reference Perry, Tarrier and MorrissPerry 1999). In this study of 69 people with bipolar disorder, the intervention was focused on teaching them to identify prodromal symptoms of depressive and manic relapse and on producing and rehearsing an action plan once these prodromes had been recognised. Most participants received between 7 and 12 sessions, which were delivered by a research psychologist. The intervention is reported as having been helpful in terms of longer times to manic relapse, fewer manic relapses and better social and occupational functioning in the treatment group, but there was no effect for time to first depressive relapse or number of depressive relapses throughout the 18-month follow-up period. This finding for depression is of note when we consider that most of the morbidity associated with bipolar disorder is caused by chronic depressive rather than relapsing manic features (Reference Judd, Akiskal and SchettlerJudd 2002, Reference Judd, Akiskal and Schletter2003).

Family-focused psychoeducation

Miklowitz and colleagues have pioneered family-focused psychoeducational treatments for bipolar disorder (Reference Miklowitz, Simoneau and GeorgeMiklowitz 2000, Reference Miklowitz, George and Richards2003, Reference Miklowitz, Axelson and Birmaher2008; Reference Rea, Miklowitz and GoldsteinRea 2003). Their family-focused treatment involves all available immediate family members in 21 one-hour sessions delivered over 9 months (12 weekly, then 6 fortnightly, then 3 monthly). It comprises three consecutive modules:

  1. 1 psychoeducation: 7 sessions focusing on the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, the aetiology of bipolar episodes according to a stress-vulnerability model and the development of strategies to prevent relapses;

  2. 2 communication enhancement training: 7–10 sessions using role-play and between-session rehearsal to teach skills for active listening, ways to deliver positive and negative feedback and constructive ways to request changes in behaviour;

  3. 3 problem-solving skills training: 4–5 sessions in which participants learn to identify specific family problems that might contribute to relapse and develop skills for finding acceptable solutions to these problems.

In a study that compared 21 sessions of family-focused treatment with a treatment of two family-education sessions plus crisis management for 101 patients with bipolar disorder, Miklowitz and colleagues reported benefits for family-focused treatment at both 1 year (Reference Miklowitz, Simoneau and GeorgeMiklowitz 2000) and 2 years (Reference Miklowitz, George and RichardsMiklowitz 2003) (Table 1). Specifically, at 1 year, the family-focused treatment group had longer delays to relapse and fewer relapses overall, but although they had fewer depressive symptoms, there was no effect seen for manic symptoms (Reference Miklowitz, Simoneau and GeorgeMiklowitz 2000). At 2-year follow-up, the family-focused treatment group had fewer relapses, longer periods between relapses, greater reductions in mood symptoms overall and better medication adherence than patients receiving the control intervention (Reference Miklowitz, George and RichardsMiklowitz 2003). However, it should be noted that, strictly speaking, family-focused treatment was not significantly different from the control intervention in terms of preventing relapses – 11 out of 31 (35%) patients in the family-focused treatment group relapsed versus 38 out of 70 (54%) in the control group.

Family-focused treatment has also been compared with individual psychoeducational treatment by Miklowitz's group (Reference Rea, Miklowitz and GoldsteinRea 2003). In a 2-year follow-up study of patients with bipolar disorder recruited soon after an admission to hospital, there was no statistically significant difference between relapse in the family-focused treatment group and the individual psychoeducation group.

Family-focused treatment for bipolar disorder has also been adapted for use with an adolescent population. In a 2003 trial comparing this with ‘enhanced care’ (three family sessions focused on relapse prevention), there were no differences between groups on rates of recovery from the index episode or in time to recurrence of depression or mania, although the family-focused treatment group spent less time in depressive episodes (Reference Rea, Miklowitz and GoldsteinRea 2003).

On balance, although there is some evidence that family-focused psychoeducational interventions may be of benefit for some people with bipolar disorder, the evidence for their effectiveness in terms of preventing relapse is currently limited.

Group psychoeducation

Colom & Vieta in Barcelona have developed a group psychoeducation programme for people with bipolar disorder (Reference Colom and VietaColom 2006). This intervention comprises 21 sessions of 90 minutes delivered weekly by two psychologists to groups of between 8 and 12 patients. Four main areas are targeted: illness awareness; adherence to treatment; early detection of prodromal symptoms and recurrences; and lifestyle regularity. The full list of sessions is presented in Box 1. Each session begins with a 30–40 minute presentation on the topic of the day, followed by a related exercise (for example, drawing a life chart or compiling a list of potential triggers for relapse) and concludes with a group discussion.

BOX 1 The 21 sessions of the Barcelona group psychoeducation programme

  1. 1 Introduction

  2. 2 What is bipolar illness?

  3. 3 Causal and triggering factors

  4. 4 Symptoms (I): mania and hypomania

  5. 5 Symptoms (II): depression and mixed episodes

  6. 6 Course and outcome

  7. 7 Treatment (I): mood stabilisers

  8. 8 Treatment (II): anti-manic agents

  9. 9 Treatment (III): antidepressants

  10. 10 Serum levels: lithium, carbamazepine and valproate

  11. 11 Pregnancy and genetic counselling

  12. 12 Psychopharmacology versus alternative therapies

  13. 13 Risks associated with treatment withdrawal

  14. 14 Alcohol and street drugs: risks in bipolar illness

  15. 15 Early detection of manic and hypomanic episodes

  16. 16 Early detection of depressive and mixed episodes

  17. 17 What to do when a new phase is detected

  18. 18 Regularity

  19. 19 Stress-management techniques

  20. 20 Problem-solving techniques

  21. 21 Final session

(Reference Colom and VietaColom 2006)

This intervention has been assessed in a randomised trial involving 120 patients where the control intervention was 20 weekly group sessions with no specific psychoeducational content (Reference Colom, Vieta and Martinez-AranColom 2003a). The participants, most of whom had bipolar I disorder, had to have been euthymic for at least 6 months before the start of the trial. Follow-up was monthly for 2 years. In the group psychoeducation arm significantly fewer patients experienced a relapse, relapsing patients had fewer recurrences and the time to depressive, manic, hypomanic and mixed relapses was longer compared with patients in the control arm (Table 1).

In a subanalysis of participants in this study who had a comorbid personality disorder, those in the group psychoeducation arm were less likely to relapse, spent a longer period well before relapsing and had fewer relapses overall (Reference Colom, Vieta and Sánchez-MorenoColom 2004). Similarly, for the subgroup of patients who were on lithium, levels were significantly higher and more stable for those who received group psychoeducation (Reference Colom, Vieta and Sánchez-MorenoColom 2005).

In a similar study, Colom and colleagues tested their group intervention in a smaller sample of patients who were known to be fully adherent with medication and found that those in the treatment group had significantly fewer relapses overall and fewer depressive relapses over a 2-year follow-up period (Reference Colom, Vieta and ReinaresColom 2003b).

A 5-year follow-up of the 120 patients enrolled in the original randomised controlled trial was published recently (Reference Colom, Vieta and Sánchez-MorenoColom 2009 Footnote ). Data were available for 50 of the 60 patients in the treatment arm and 49 of the 60 in the control arm. Overall, the treatment group had a significantly longer time to any mood episode recurrence, had fewer total recurrences, spent fewer days acutely unwell and had a lower median number of days in hospital. These findings suggest that group psychoeducation for bipolar disorder has important long-term prophylactic effects.

Caregiver group psychoeducation

Reinares and colleagues have compared caregiver group psychoeducation (a relative or partner living with the patient) using the content of the Barcelona group psychoeducation programme versus no specific intervention (Reference Reinares, Colom and Sánchez-MorenoReinares 2008). At 1-year follow-up, patients whose caregivers had been randomised to the group intervention had lower rates of relapse and longer relapse-free intervals.

Psychoeducation delivered as part of a comprehensive management programme

Reference Simon, Ludman and UnützerSimon and colleagues (2005) in the USA have conducted a large population-based study of 451 patients with bipolar disorder randomised to either a comprehensive treatment programme or treatment as usual (Table 1). Psychoeducation in this programme was delivered by a nurse care manager as a part of a comprehensive ‘systematic care-management’ programme, which included initial assessment and care-planning, monthly telephone monitoring, coordination with the treating team and a ‘structured group psychoeducational programme’. This group programme was adapted from Bauer & McBride's Life Goals Program (Reference Bauer and McBrideBauer 2003) and comprised five weekly sessions (phase 1) followed by twice-monthly sessions for the remaining time (phase 2; up to 24 months total). Phase 1 addressed the nature of bipolar disorder, triggers and early symptoms of relapse, and self-management strategies for relapse. Phase 2 used problem-solving techniques to focus on the accomplishment of specific life goals.

Simon and colleagues have reported outcome analyses for this trial at both 12-month and 24-month follow-up that show an effect of the overall intervention on the experience of manic symptoms but not for depressive symptoms (Reference Simon, Ludman and UnützerSimon 2005, Reference Simon, Ludman and Bauer2006).

Psychoeducation v. other psychosocial interventions

Very few high-quality studies have directly compared psychoeducational interventions with other psychosocial treatments for bipolar disorder. However, a systematic review of psychosocial interventions for preventing relapse in bipolar disorder concluded that cognitive–behavioural therapy, group psychoeducation and possibly family-focused psychoeducation may be beneficial adjuncts to medication maintenance treatments (Reference Beynon, Soares-Weiser and WoolacottBeynon 2008). It found no evidence for the effectiveness of either care management or integrated group therapy in preventing relapse.

Why might psychoeducation be effective?

There are several mechanisms by which psycho-educational interventions might exert their therapeutic effect. At present it is not known whether the active ingredient is the ‘group experience’, the educational material itself, some other non-specific psychotherapeutic effect or, as seems likely, some combination of all three.

It is notable that, on current evidence, group interventions appear to be more effective than both family and individual interventions. This suggests that patients with bipolar disorder might benefit most from sharing experiences, expertise and insights about their illness within a supportive group setting. It is also plausible that the personality, charisma and expertise of a group facilitator will be important for maximising the benefit gained from group sessions (this is as yet an underresearched question). Group psychoeducation also operates within the framework of what might be considered a more ‘medical’ view of bipolar illness, where the biological as well as social and psychological aspects of the disorder are acknowledged and where the synergistic benefits of both medication and psychosocial interventions are emphasised. It seems possible that many patients with bipolar disorder find this kind of formulation of their illness helpful.

Although there is some evidence that group psychoeducation enhances medication adherence (Reference Colom, Vieta and ReinaresColom 2003b), the finding that patients who are already good at adhering to medication also benefit suggests that other, non-medication-related aspects of the intervention are important. These might include improved insight into personal triggers, better recognition of prodromal symptoms, lifestyle changes, reduced drug and alcohol use, regularity of routines, increased competence in self-management techniques and enhanced relationships with family members, caregivers and professionals. The identification of these ‘active ingredients’ within psychoeducational interventions is an important area for future research (Box 2).

BOX 2 Questions for future research

  1. What is the ‘active ingredient’ of psychoeducation?

  2. How do individual interventions compare with group and online interventions?

  3. Are psychoeducational interventions cost-effective and, if so, which is best value for money?

  4. What level of skills or training is required of those who deliver psychoeducation in the NHS?

  5. Is there a dosage effect: does more information or input necessarily mean better outcome?

  6. Which patients are most likely to respond to psychoeducation (should patients with certain clinical characteristics be excluded, e.g. drug and alcohol use disorder, comorbid personality disorder)?

  7. Should resources be targeted at certain ‘high-risk’ groups (e.g. adolescents or young adults with first-episode mania)?

  8. Is it necessary for patients to be in clinical remission for effective psychoeducation to be given?

  9. Is there a role for ‘expert patients’ in the delivery of psychoeducation?

  10. What elements of psychoeducation for bipolar disorder could be delivered effectively to other patient groups, e.g. those with schizophrenia?

Should formal psychoeducation for bipolar disorder be part of routine NHS care?

Although this review has focused on bipolar disorder, clearly several other psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety disorders, may benefit from a structured approach to delivering psychoeducational material. Many psychiatrists and community psychiatric nurses in the National Health Service (NHS) will feel that they already deliver high-quality psychoeducation to their patients without the need to formalise this

within a new treatment. Although there are clearly several areas (summarised in Box 2) where further research questions need to be explored, it is our view that psychoeducation for bipolar disorder, particularly group psychoeducation, should be available within the NHS to patients with bipolar disorder. Box 3 lists some useful resources for clinicians and patients.

BOX 3 Psychoeducation resources for bipolar disorder

  1. PsychEducation.org: US website run by Jim Phelps, MD at www.psycheducation.org

  2. ‘Bipolar disorder’: Royal College of Psychiatrists at www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinformation/mentalhealthproblems/bipolarmanicdepression.aspx

  3. Miklowitz D (2002) The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide. Guilford Press

  4. Owen S, Saunders A (2008) Bipolar Disorder. The Ultimate Guide. Oneworld Publications.

  5. Phelps J (2006) Why am I Still Depressed? Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder. McGraw-Hill.

Several groups across the UK are developing and testing psychoeducational interventions for bipolar disorder. These include programmes of work in Oxford (www.bipolar-foundation.org) and in Lancaster (www.spectrumcentre.org). In Cardiff, we are developing and testing two bipolar psychoeducation interventions: ‘BeatingBipolar. org’ and a ten-session group psychoeducation intervention called Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEP-Cymru).

BeatingBipolar.org

BeatingBipolar.org is a web-based interactive psychoeducational intervention for bipolar disorder that has been developed by the Mood Disorders Research Team at Cardiff University. This intervention was developed using an iterative process involving focus groups with patients, their carers, families and health professionals. The purpose of these groups was to advise on the design and content of the programme, as well as to revise and refine the intervention. The primary focus of the intervention is the recognition and self-management of chronic depressive symptoms, depressive relapse and associated functional impairments, although manic features are also covered to some degree. The intervention involves a blending of different delivery mechanisms, with initial face-to-face delivery, followed by written and web-based interactive delivery of factual content and ongoing support via a web forum. The web-based content requires the reader to be engaged in a number of interactive exercises to maximise long-term retention of the material. The key areas covered in the package are listed in Box 4. BeatingBipolar. org is currently being evaluated in an exploratory clinical trial (Reference Simpson, Barnes and GriffithsSimpson 2009).

BOX 4 BeatingBipolar.org modules

  1. 1 The accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder

  2. 2 The causes of bipolar disorder

  3. 3 The role of medication

  4. 4 The role of lifestyle changes

  5. 5 Relapse prevention and early intervention

  6. 6 Psychological approaches

  7. 7 Bipolar disorder and women

  8. 8 Advice for family and carers

Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEP-Cymru)

Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEP-Cymru) is a group psychoeducation treatment for bipolar disorder that has been funded for patients in Wales by the Big Lottery Fund (www.bep-c.org). It is being delivered by the Department of Psychological Medicine at Cardiff University and comprises ten sessions, each lasting 90 minutes, that are facilitated by two senior community psychiatric nurses. The first session is introductory and orients participants to the programme, the next eight sessions follow the content of the eight Beating Bipolar modules listed in Box 4, and the final session is for feedback and conclusions. Sessions begin with a 30 minute presentation on the topic of the day (for example, lifestyle changes or medication) followed by a 30 minute interactive exercise, such as completing a life chart or creating an early warning signature. They conclude with a 30 minute open discussion. Participants are encouraged to share their views and experiences in an open and supportive group environment.

Conclusions

Bipolar disorder is a complex illness that requires a comprehensive programme of treatment. There is some evidence that psychoeducational interventions, particularly group psychoeducation (when delivered alongside standard medical care), help patients in the long-term management of their condition. Group psychoeducation is not currently widely available under the NHS but work is underway to develop and assess the effectiveness of several different psychoeducational interventions for bipolar disorder and, if clinically effective and cost-effective, these treatments may become part of a standard package of care offered to patients and their families.

MCQs

  1. 1 Psychoeducation for bipolar disorder is:

    1. a a form of cognitive–behavioural therapy

    2. b a form of dynamic psychotherapy

    3. c a way to improve patients' knowledge about the causes of bipolar disorder and how to manage it better

    4. d contraindicated in bipolar disorder with comorbid personality disorder

    5. e only deliverable by psychiatrists.

  2. 2 To date, the best evidence for psycho-educational interventions in bipolar disorder exists for:

    1. a internet-based delivery

    2. b groups

    3. c one-to-one

    4. d groups of caregivers

    5. e groups of community psychiatric nurses.

  3. 3 Regarding family-focused psycho-education:

    1. a families are excluded

    2. b patients are excluded

    3. c all immediate family members must be involved

    4. d only willing family members should be involved

    5. e family members with any psychiatric diagnosis should be excluded.

  4. 4 Group psychoeducation for bipolar disorder:

    1. a has been pioneered in Barcelona

    2. b refers to caregivers only

    3. c is ineffective

    4. d comprises 20–25 sessions

    5. e is only effective with charismatic group leaders.

  5. 5 Mechanisms by which psychoeducation is effective are unlikely to include:

    1. a improved knowledge about the disorder

    2. b experimenting with stopping long-term medications

    3. c learning to recognise relapses earlier

    4. d improved adherence to medication

    5. e moderation of drug and alcohol use.

MCQ answers

1 2 3 4 5
a f a f a f a t a f
b f b t b f b f b t
c t c f c f c f c f
d f d f d t d f d f
e f e f e f e f e f

TABLE 1 Randomised trials of psychoeducation for bipolar disorder

Study, country Details of intervention, control arm and setting Delivery Diagnostic group Treatment arm (control arm), n Mood state at entry Follow-up period and assessments Significant findings
Reference Perry, Tarrier and MorrissPerry et al (1999), UK Between 7 and 12 individual sessions of ‘teaching patients to identify early symptoms of relapse and obtain treatment’, plus routine care. Delivered by a research psychologist in out-patient secondary care. Control arm was routine care only Individual DSM–III–R BP–I (n = 63) and BP–II (n =6) 34 (35) Not stated Assessments at baseline, 6, 12 and 18 months Longer time to manic relapse, fewer manic relapses and better social and occupational functioning in the treatment group. No effect for time to first depressive relapse or number of depressive relapses
Reference Miklowitz, Simoneau and GeorgeMiklowitz et al (2000), USA Family-focused treatment delivered in 21 sessions over 9 months versus a comparison treatment of 2 family education sessions and follow-up crisis management. All patients were maintained on mood-stabilising medication Family DSM–III–R BP–I 31 (70) Recruited ‘shortly after an illness episode’ (about 80% were admitted to hospital at entry) Three-monthly assessments during treatment phase for 9 months and at 12 months after start of treatments Family-focused treatment group had fewer relapses, longer delays to relapses and improved depressive (but not manic) symptoms. Improvements were most marked in family-focused treatment families who had high expressed emotion
Reference Colom, Vieta and Martinez-AranColom et al (2003a), Spain Group psychoeducation (8–12 participants in each group), 21 sessions lasting 90 minutes, each delivered by two psychologists. Content was focused on illness awareness, adherence to treatment, early detection of prodromal symptoms and recurrences, and lifestyle regularity. Control arm was 20 weekly group meetings of 8–12 patients with the same two psychologists but with no specific psychoeducational content. Both arms received standard psychiatric care, including pharmacotherapy Group DSM–IV BP–I (n = 100) and BP–II (n =20) 60 (60) Euthymic for previous 6 months Assessed monthly during 20 weeks of treatment and for 2 years of follow-up Treatment group had fewer relapsed patients, fewer recurrences per patient and increased time to depressive, manic, hypomanic and mixed relapses. Number and length of admissions to hospital for each patient were also lower in the treatment group
Reference Colom, Vieta and ReinaresColom et al (2003b), Spain This study only recruited patients who were known to be fully adherent to their medication. The intervention was as per Reference Colom, Vieta and Martinez-AranColom et al (2003a) above Group DSM–IV BP–I 25 (25) Euthymic for previous 6 months Monthly assessment for 2 years of follow-up Treatment group had fewer relapses overall and fewer depressive episodes
Reference Rea, Miklowitz and GoldsteinRea et al (2003), USA Family-focused psychoeducational treatment versus individual treatment. In-patient setting initially and on-going treatment with mood-stabilising medication Family DSM–III–R BP–I 28 (25) Manic, recently admitted to hospital Assessments at 3-month intervals for 1 year during active treatment and for 1 year after treatment Family-focused treatment group were less likely to be readmitted during the 2-year study period and experienced fewer mood disorder relapses
Reference Miklowitz, George and RichardsMiklowitz et al (2003), USA Same study as Reference Miklowitz, Simoneau and GeorgeMiklowitz et al (2000) above but with a 2-year (rather than 1-year) follow-up period Family DSM–IV BP–I (n = 99) and BP–II (n =2) 31 (70) Recruited ‘shortly after an illness episode’ (about 80% were in-patients at study entry) Three-monthly follow-up during treatments for 9 months and at 24 months after start of treatments Family-focused treatment group had fewer relapses and longer survival intervals
Reference Colom, Vieta and Sánchez-MorenoColom et al (2004), Spain Subanalysis of the Reference Colom, Vieta and Martinez-AranColom et al (2003a) study above analysing a subgroup of patients with a comorbid personality disorder. Group DSM–IV BP–I plus any DSM–IV personality disorder 15 (22) Euthymic for previous 6 months Assessed monthly during 20 weeks of treatment and during 2 years of follow-up Treatment group were less likely to relapse, had a longer time to relapse and had fewer relapses overall
Reference Simon, Ludman and UnützerSimon et al (2005), USA Psychoeducation delivered by a nurse care manager as a part of a comprehensive ‘systematic care management’ programme, which included initial assessment and care-planning, monthly telephone monitoring, coordination with the treating team and structured group psychoeducation (adapted from the Life Goals Program) comprising five weekly group sessions followed by twice-monthly sessions for the remaining time, up to 24 months total. The control arm was ‘usual care’. Results analysed at 12 months Comprehensive care programme DSM–IV BP–I (n = 336) and BP–II (n =115) 212 (229) At entry, most patients had manic or depressive symptoms of varying severity Three-monthly assessment for 24 months but this paper presents findings at 12 months Treatment group had lower mean mania ratings over the 12 months and less time in hypomanic or manic episodes, but no difference found between groups for mean depression ratings
Reference Colom, Vieta and Sánchez-MorenoColom et al (2005), Spain Subanalysis of the Reference Colom, Vieta and Martinez-AranColom et al (2003a) study above analysing the subgroup of patients who had been taking lithium during the original trial Group DSM–IV BP–I (n = 80) and BP–II (n =13) 49 (44) Euthymic for previous 6 months Assessed monthly during 20 weeks of treatment and 2 years of follow-up. Adherence assessed by interviews with patients and relatives and plasma levels of lithium obtained before randomisation and at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months Lithium levels were higher and more stable in the psychoeducation group
Reference Simon, Ludman and BauerSimon et al (2006), USA Findings at 24 months of the same study group as in Reference Simon, Ludman and UnützerSimon et al (2005) above Comprehensive care programme DSM–IV BP–I (n = 336) and BP–II (n =115) 212 (229) At entry, most patients had manic or depressive symptoms of varying severity Three-monthly assessment for 24 months Treatment group had lower mean mania ratings over the 24 months but no difference found between groups for mean depression ratings
Reference Miklowitz, Axelson and BirmaherMiklowitz et al (2008), USA Family-focused treatment for adolescents plus protocol pharmacotherapy versus enhanced care plus protocol pharmacotherapy. Family-focused treatment was 21 sessions delivered over 9 months of psychoeducation, communication training and problem-skills training. Enhanced care was three family sessions focused on relapse prevention Family 58 (mean age 14.5 years) with BP–I (n = 38), BP–II (n = 6) or BP–NOS (n = 14). 30 (28) Mood episode within the previous 3 months Assessments every 3 months in year 1 and then every 6 months in year 2 No differences between intervention and control groups for rates of recovery from index episode or in time to recurrence of depression or mania but family-focused treatment group spent fewer weeks in depressive episodes
Reference Reinares, Colom and Sánchez-MorenoReinares et al (2008), Spain Caregiver group psychoeducation versus no specific intervention. The intervention was twelve 90 minute group sessions focused on knowledge of bipolar disorder and training in coping skills. Patients did not attend the groups Caregiver group Patients: DSM–IV BP–I (n = 94) or BP–II (n = 19) 57 (56) Patients euthymic for at least 3 months prior to study entry Assessed monthly during the intervention and during the 12 month follow-up period Intervention group had fewer patients with mood recurrence and longer relapse-free periods. There was an effect for hypomanic and manic relapses but not for depressive or mixed episode relapses
Reference Colom, Vieta and Sánchez-MorenoColom et al (2009), Spain Five-year follow-up of Reference Colom, Vieta and Martinez-AranColom et al (2003a) study above: 99 out of 120 patients completed follow-up Group DSM–IV BP–I (n = 100) and BP–II (n =20) 50 (49) Euthymic for previous 6 months Five years of follow-up. Two-monthly assessments. Treatment group had a longer time to any recurrence, had fewer recurrences overall, spent less time acutely unwell and had a lower median number of days in hospital

Footnotes

Declaration of Interest

The authors are involved in developing interactive psychoeducational materials for bipolar disorder, including BeatingBipolar.org and Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEP-Cymru).

Colom et al's paper is reviewed by DJ Miklowitz in the November 2009 issue of Evidence-Based Mental Health (vol 12, p. 110). Online access to EBMH is free for Members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (login via the College website's ‘Members only’ area). Ed.

References

Bauer, M, McBride, L (2003) Structured Group Psychotherapy for Bipolar Disorder. The Life Goals Program (2nd edn). Springer.Google Scholar
Beynon, S, Soares-Weiser, K, Woolacott, N et al (2008) Psychosocial interventions for the prevention of relapse in bipolar disorder: systematic review of controlled trials. British Journal of Psychiatry 192: 511.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cochran, SD (1984) Preventing medical noncompliance in the outpatient treatment of bipolar affective disorders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 52: 873–8.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Colom, F, Vieta, E (2006) Psychoeducation Manual for Bipolar Disorder. Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colom, F, Vieta, E, Martinez-Aran, A et al (2003a) A randomized trial on the efficacy of group psychoeducation in the prophylaxis of recurrences in bipolar patients whose disease is in remission. Archives of General Psychiatry 60: 402–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colom, F, Vieta, E, Reinares, M et al (2003b) Psychoeducation efficacy in bipolar disorders. Beyond compliance enhancement. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 64: 1101–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colom, F, Vieta, E, Sánchez-Moreno, J et al (2004) Psychoeducation in bipolar patients with comorbid personality disorders. Bipolar Disorders 6: 294–8.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Colom, F, Vieta, E, Sánchez-Moreno, J et al (2005) Stabilizing the stabilizer. Group psychoeducation enhances the stability of serum lithium levels. Bipolar Disorders 7: 32–6.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Colom, F, Vieta, E, Sánchez-Moreno, J et al (2009) Group psychoeducation for stabilised bipolar disorders: 5-year outcome of a randomised clinical trial. British Journal of Psychiatry 194: 260–5.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Harvey, NS, Peet, M (1991) Lithium maintenance: 2. Effects of personality and attitude on health information acquisition and compliance. British Journal of Psychiatry 158: 200–4.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Judd, LL, Akiskal, H, Schettler, PJ et al (2002) The long-term natural history of the weekly symptomatic status of bipolar I disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry 59: 530–7.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Judd, LL, Akiskal, HS, Schletter, PJ et al (2003) A prospective investigation of the natural history of the long-term weekly symptomatic status of bipolar II disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry 60: 261–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Miklowitz, DJ, Simoneau, TL, George, EL et al (2000) Family-focused treatment of bipolar disorder. 1-year effects of a psychoeducational program in conjunction with pharmacotherapy. Biological Psychiatry 48: 582–92.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Miklowitz, DJ, George, EL, Richards, JA et al (2003) A randomized study of family-focused psychoeducation and pharmacotherapy in the outpatient management of bipolar disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry 60: 904–12.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Miklowitz, DJ, Axelson, DA, Birmaher, B et al (2008) Family-focused treatment for adolescents with bipolar disorder. Results of a 2-year randomized trial. Archives of General Psychiatry 65: 1053–61.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Peet, M, Harvey, NS (1991) Lithium maintenance: 1. A standard education programme for patients. British Journal of Psychiatry 158: 197200.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Perry, A, Tarrier, N, Morriss, R et al (1999) Randomised controlled trial of efficacy of teaching patients with bipolar disorder to identify early symptoms of relapse and obtain treatment. BMJ 318: 149–53.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rea, MM, Miklowitz, DJ, Goldstein, MJ et al (2003) Family focused treatment vs individual treatment for bipolar disorder. Results of a randomised clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 71: 482–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reinares, M, Colom, F, Sánchez-Moreno, J et al (2008) Impact of caregiver group psychoeducation on the course and outcome of bipolar patients in remission. A randomized controlled trial. Bipolar Disorders 10: 511–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Simon, GE, Ludman, EJ, Unützer, J et al (2005) Randomized trial of a population-based care program for people with bipolar disorder. Psychological Medicine 35: 1324.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Simon, GE, Ludman, EJ, Bauer, MS et al (2006) Long-term effectiveness and cost of a systematic care program for bipolar disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry 63: 500–8.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Simpson, S, Barnes, E, Griffiths, E et al (2009) The Bipolar Interactive Psychoeducation (BIPED) study: trial design and protocol. BMC Psychiatry 9: 50.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Van Gent, EM, Zwart, FM (1993) Five-year follow-up after educational therapy added to lithium prophylaxis. Five years after group added to lithium. Depression 1: 225–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 560
Total number of PDF views: 1054 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 02nd January 2018 - 28th February 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Access

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Psychoeducation for bipolar disorder
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Psychoeducation for bipolar disorder
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Psychoeducation for bipolar disorder
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *