Early intervention and CBT for people at risk of developing Bipolar Disorder

Sophie Parker1,2; 1Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, 2The University of Manchester

Bipolar Disorder affects around 1% of the population with 1.14 million people meeting diagnostic criteria in 2007. The World Health Organisation has identified Bipolar Disorder as one of the main reasons for loss of life and health in 15-44 year olds. There is poor recognition, especially in the early stages. This includes people who experience symptoms of high and low mood and meet criteria for Bipolar At Risk (BAR), considered to be at high risk of developing a full episode of Bipolar Disorder. The BAR criteria will be presented and methods of early detection for those who may fall within this category will be discussed. Once such individuals are detected then interventions aimed at reducing these symptoms and associated distress may reduce the chance of a future full blown episode of Bipolar Disorder. Extending early intervention to other mental health problems such as Bipolar Disorder would be a major step forward in preventing long-term problems and their associated distress, disability and financial burden. The importance of developing interventions with a focus on health promotion and preventative interventions has long been recognised. However, evidence is required to test what treatments might best help those who meet this criteria. One such treatment intervention is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This talk will describe the protocol for the first randomised controlled trial of its kind, testing CBT versus treatment as usual for people meeting BAR criteria. The possible applications of this approach across the continuum will also be considered.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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