CBT and rapid-cycling Bipolar Disorder

People diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder experience four or more separate episodes of depression and hypomania within the span of one year. Therapists have recently implemented cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to focus on treating depressive symptoms and reducing suicidal risk when caring for patients diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.

In a study reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, researchers trained rapid-cycling bipolar disorder patients to utilize CBT skills to identify and respond to negative core beliefs, such as “Nobody cares about me” or “I am incompetent.” Addressing these beliefs is essential when administering CBT because they are likely to intensify the depressive episodes. Through implementing CBT, patients were also able to develop anxiety-management strategies and reduce symptoms of depression.

Study authors: N. A. Reilly-Harrington, T. Deckersbach, R. Knauz, Y. Wu, T. Tran, P. Eidelman, H. G. Lund, G. Sachs, A. A. Nierenberg

Short-term CBT in a partial-hospital setting


Patients in partial-hospital settings live at home but come to the hospital three to five days a week to receive structured treatment. A two-week pilot study reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice investigated subjects who attended a mood and anxiety program in a partial-hospital setting. Researchers administered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and found a significant decrease in symptoms and negative thought patterns.

Treatment interventions were based on psychoeducation and skills training, and specifically targeted self-assessment and behavioral coping. Acquiring CBT skills prompted patients to develop a structured self awareness, which led to “reduced negative thought patterns and improved satisfaction with life.” The study authors indicated that future studies were planned to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment during a follow-up period.

Study authors: E. C. Neuhaus, M. Christopher, K. Jacob, J. Guillaumot, J. P. Burns