By On October 29th, 2014

Psychotherapy Options For Bipolar Disorder Are Equally Effective In Most Patients

A new study published in Bipolar Disorders suggests two unique psychotherapy options for bipolar disorder are equally effective in reducing symptomology in adolescents and young adults.

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) and specialist supportive care (SCC) reduced depressive and manic symptoms as well as improving social functioning over the span of 6 to 18 months when combined with pharmacotherapy, according to Maree Inder and co-authors from the University of Otago, New Zealand.

According to Medwire News, the team of researchers randomly assigned 100 patients between the ages of 15 and 36 with bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, or non-specified bipolar disorder to receive up to 18 months of treatment with IPSRT along with psychopharmacological treatment.

The team says that IPSRT “combines interpersonal psychotherapy with a focus on social rhythms or routines in a patient’s life” and is based on “the links between mood symptoms and the quality of interpersonal relationships and social roles and the importance of maintaining daily routines.”

In contrast, SSC does not put an emphasis on a systematic exploration of interpersonal issues or sleep and activity patterns, but it instead patient-led and focuses on combining supportive psychotherapy with psychoeducation.

This notably goes against most predictions which suggested tha SSC would be superior to IPSRT in decreasing symptoms or social functioning. The researchers instead found both therapies are equally effective within similar time periods.

The study also found no impact of lifetime or current Axis I comorbidity or age at study entry, but those with comorbid substance abuse assigned to SSC showed greater improvement than those assigned to IPSRT. The researchers believe this may be because “the patient-directed supportive approach of SSC may have allowed patients with current SUD to focus on issues more relevant to their context rather than fitting in with the IPSRT framework.”

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