Psychological Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Psychological Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Psychological Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Psychological Treatment of Bipolar Disorder


From leading scientist-practitioners, this volume presents a range of effective psychosocial approaches for enhancing medication adherence and improving long-term outcomes in adults and children with bipolar illness. Authors review the conceptual and empirical bases of their respective modalities--including cognitive, family-focused, group, and interpersonal and social rhythm therapies--and provide clear descriptions of therapeutic procedures. Separate chapters address assessment and diagnosis, analyze available outcome data, and provide guidance on managing suicidality. Offering a framework for clinical understanding, and yet packed with readily applicable insights and tools, this is a state-of-the-science resource for students and practitioners.


While there are several excellent treatment manuals and edited volumes on bipolar disorder, we recognized that practicing clinicians did not have a single updated resource that would provide them with an understanding of the diagnostic, social, and clinical issues involved in providing therapy for bipolar disorder. More than for any other psychiatric disorder, there is a significant need for a comprehensive—as well as integrative—treatment approach for bipolar disorder. Although many practitioners may still be limited by their view that medication is the only method of treatment, the contributors to this volume make clear that a multifaceted approach is now available.

The book begins with a discussion of diagnostic issues. Even experienced clinicians can easily miss the nuanced issues in differential diagnosis or the early signs of bipolar disorder unfolding during adolescence. Unfortunately, many patients will finally receive an accurate diagnosis only after they have suffered years of unnecessary depressions and manias. Because few people complain about hypomanic symptoms, such as [feeling especially good,] inappropriate monodrug treatments can exacerbate symptoms.

Beyond diagnosis, this volume covers psychosocial approaches to supplement medication management. Many of the chapters share commonalities in the targets of treatment. For example, psychoeducation and strategies to improve medication adherence are a major part of all of these treatments. However, there are important differences in emphasis and strategies. The great advantage that practicing clinicians have is the freedom to integrate these approaches with one another to provide comprehensive treatment.

Bipolar disorder does not occur in a vacuum. There is considerable evidence that psychosocial variables, including impaired occupational functioning, social conflicts, and life stressors, can be unfortunate consequences of this disorder and in fact catalyze future episodes. Fortunately, these vari-

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