Can psychotherapy and medication prevent bipolar disorder relapses?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
There are studies which indicate that people with bipolar disorder comply more with their medication regimens when undergoing intensive psychotherapy. In a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) trial called the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD), researchers compared people who had collaborative care (psychoeducation) with people who were treated with medication along with intensive psychotherapy. NIMH researchers concluded that the second group who received medication and intensive psychotherapy had fewer relapses of their bipolar mood disorder. These people were also less likely to be hospitalized for bipolar disorder mood swings and were more capable of staying with their treatment plans.

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