10 September 2014 16:43

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy could give people with a recent Bipolar Disorder diagnosis a better chance of recovery, a new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests.

New research compared a group of people with a recent bipolar diagnosis who had an average of 14 hours Cognitive Behavioural Therapy alongside ‘treatment as usual’ which includes medication and support from community mental health teams, psychiatry or a GP. This group was compared to a group of 34 people who only received ‘treatment as usual’ in a randomised controlled trial.

The group receiving Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - a psychological therapy which helps people address patterns of thinking and behaviour which they wish to change – made a better, more sustained recovery.

Professor Steven Jones of Lancaster University’s Spectrum Centre, who led the study, described the results as “very promising”.

He said: “Compared with the group who were only receiving treatment as usual, recovery-focused CBT significantly improved personal recovery up to 12-months after the therapy ended. This is an important result as better recovery outcomes can allow people to get on with their lives rather than having their lives controlled by their experience of bipolar disorder.

“Recovery enables people to feel able to take a lead in managing their own health, engage in activities which are personally meaningful and see recovery itself as a long term and potentially fluctuating process.

“The government and people with a Bipolar diagnosis have highlighted the importance of improving recovery in mental health. In Bipolar Disorder in particular, NICE guidelines highlight that with optimal treatment many more people with this diagnosis can return to work and live fulfilling and flourishing lives.”

The study ‘Recovery-focused cognitive–behavioural therapy for recent-onset bipolar disorder: randomised controlled pilot trial’ is by Steven H. Jones, Gina Smith, Lee Mulligan, Fiona Lobban, Heather Law, Graham Dunn, Mary Welford, James Kelly, John Mulligan and Anthony P. Morrison