Combining cognitive therapy with medication in bipolar disorder
University of Exeter (at the time of publication, the author was at the Institute of Psychiatry, London)
Advances in Psychiatric Treatment
The Royal College of Psychiatrists
Although mood stabilisers have substantially improved the treatment of bipolar disorder, recent studies suggest that treatment with lithium is not as effective as originally claimed. Furthermore, patients still have high rates of relapse even when prescribed medication. Recent research has shown that poor coping strategies in response to bipolar prodromes and disruptions of sleep and social routines increase the risk of relapse. Combining a psychosocial approach with medication may improve the rate of relapse prevention. Cognitive therapy teaches patients better self-monitoring and coping skills and is therefore an appropriate means of minimising psychosocial risk factors for relapse. Recent randomised controlled trials suggest that combined medication and cognitive therapy significantly reduce bipolar relapse compared with medication alone.
Reproduced with permission of the publisher. Copyright © 2008 The Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (2003), Vol 9, pp.110-116