According to a new randomized controlled study,1 dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) may be beneficial in treating patients with bipolar disorder.
The pilot study included 26 adults with bipolar I or bipolar II who were randomized to 12 weekly 90-minute DBT sessions or wait list control groups. Patients in the treatment group received lessons in DBT skills and mindfulness techniques as well as general psychoeducation for bipolar disorder. Patients in both groups completed Beck depression inventory II, mindfulness-based self-efficacy scale, and affective control scale at baseline and again at 12 weeks to assess efficacy.
Researchers noted a trend toward reduced depressive symptoms, significant improvement in several mindfulness-based self-efficacy subscales, and more control of emotional states in patients who received DBT. Similarly, in comparison with the control group, patients in the DBT group had reduced emergency room visits and mental health-related admissions in the six months after the program.
Despite its small sample size, the authors agree this preliminary evidence shows that DBT holds promise for patients with bipolar disorder.
1. Van Dijk S, Jeffrey J, Katz MR. A randomized, controlled, pilot study of dialectical behavior therapy skills in a psychoeducational group for individuals with bipolar disorder. J Affect Disord. 2013;145:386-393.