Psychoeducation and online mood tracking for patients with bipolar disorder: A randomised controlled trial.
Bilderbeck AC., Atkinson LZ., McMahon HC., Voysey M., Simon J., Price J., Rendell J., Hinds C., Geddes JR., Holmes E., Miklowitz DJ., Goodwin GM.
BACKGROUND: Psychoeducation is an effective adjunct to medications in bipolar disorder (BD). Brief psychoeducational approaches have been shown to improve early identification of relapse. However, the optimal method of delivery of psychoeducation remains uncertain. Here, our objective was to compare a short therapist-facilitated vs. self-directed psychoeducational intervention for BD. METHODS: BD outpatients who were receiving medication-based treatment were randomly assigned to 5 psychoeducation sessions administered by a therapist (Facilitated Integrated Mood Management; FIMM; n=60), or self-administered psychoeducation (Manualized Integrated Mood Management; MIMM; n=61). Follow-up was based on patients' weekly responses to an electronic mood monitoring programme over 12 months. RESULTS: Over follow-up, there were no group differences in weekly self-rated depression symptoms or relapse/readmission rates. However, knowledge of BD (assessed with the Oxford Bipolar Knowledge questionnaire (OBQ)) was greater in the FIMM than the MIMM group at 3 months. Greater illness knowledge at 3 months was related to a higher proportion of weeks well over 12 months. LIMITATIONS: Features of the trial may have reduced the sensitivity to our psychoeducation approach, including that BD participants had been previously engaged in self-monitoring. CONCLUSIONS: Improved OBQ score, while accelerated by a short course of therapist-administered psychoeducation (FIMM), was seen after both treatments. It was associated with better outcome assessed as weeks well. When developing and testing a new psychosocial intervention, studies should consider proximal outcomes (e.g., acquired knowledge) and their short-term impact on illness course in bipolar disorder.