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Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria

Print version ISSN 1516-4446

Abstract

COSTA, Rafael Thomaz da et al. The effectiveness of cognitive behavioral group therapy in treating bipolar disorder: a randomized controlled study. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2011, vol.33, n.2, pp. 144-149.  Epub Mar 18, 2011. ISSN 1516-4446.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-44462011000200009.

OBJECTIVE: Recent studies suggest that, when combined with pharmacotherapy, structured psychotherapy may modify the course of bipolar disorder. However, there are few studies that have examined the effects of cognitive behavioral group therapy on the course of this disorder. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of 14 sessions of cognitive behavioral group therapy, combined with pharmacotherapy, on the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder, and to compare our results against those from the use of pharmacotherapy alone. METHOD: Forty-one patients with bipolar I and II disorder participated in the study and were randomly allocated to one of two treatment groups; thirty-seven patients remained in the study until its completion. Mood and anxiety symptoms were measured in all subjects. Statistical analysis was used to investigate if the groups differed with respect to demographic characteristics and the scores recorded in the pre- and post-treatment stages, as well as during treatment (intra/inter groups). RESULTS: Patients showed statistically similar population characteristics. The association of cognitive behavioral group therapy and pharmacological treatment proved to be effective. Patients who had undergone cognitive behavioral group therapy presented fewer symptoms of mania, depression and anxiety, as well as fewer and shorter mood change episodes. CONCLUSION: Cognitive behavioral group therapy sessions substantially contributed to the improvement of depression symptoms.

Keywords : Bipolar disorder; Cognitive therapy; Depression; Psychotherapy; Treatment outcome.

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