Group Psychoeducation for Bipolar Disorder

Medication is only 1 way to decrease the likelihood of  having another episode for people with bipolar disorder. In a study of 120 patients with bipolar disorder who were currently euthymic (back to baseline), the addition of group psychoeducation significantly reduced the chances of having another episode compared to participating in a support group.

The psycho-education group emphasized

1) early detection of symptoms of an impending mood episode

2) sticking with treatment (such as taking medication regularly, attending appointments, etc.)

3) lifestyle regularity (having a routine or schedule for physical activity, bedtime, social activity)

Though more people in the support group completed the study, those in the psycho-education group

1) fewer mood episodes

2) fewer days hospitalized

3) a longer time to the next episode

Though this is not a new study, being published 10 years ago, subsequent studies have backed up it’s central finding: there are ways to decrease the chances of having another episode in bipolar disorder in addition to taking medication.

The take away message is that learning about bipolar disorder, sticking with the treatment plan and leading a regular lifestyle can help to stay better.

A Randomized Trial on the Efficacy of Group Psychoeducation in the Prophylaxis of Recurrences in Bipolar Patients Whose Disease Is in Remission 

Francesco Colom, PhD; et. al.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003;60(4):402-407. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.60.4.402.

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