Question: In adults with bipolar disorder, which group intervention is most effective in improving patient outcomes?


Plain Language Summary
There is limited evidence that adequately compares the effectiveness of different group therapies. Research suggests that group psychoeducation may be beneficial in reducing symptoms of bipolar disorder, when combined with medication. However, further trials are required to determine the most effective group intervention.

Clinical and Research Implications
Very limited data from two small randomised controlled trials, included in a larger systematic review, indicates that in group psychoeducation as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy may reduce the overall relapse rate, the manic relapse rate and the depressive relapse rate in people with bipolar compared to participation in an un-structured support group. A follow-up study using a small, non-randomised sample from one of these trials indicates that these effects are sustained over the longer term (5 years) and that participants in psychoeducational groups may also experience increased employment rates, job efficacy and autonomy.

Overall, more research is needed to confirm the initially positive findings about group psychoeducation and to adequately assess the effectiveness and comparative effectiveness of other group interventions for people with bipolar disorder.

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