A news report out of Australia provides intriguing evidence that early detection of a bipolar episode can have a powerful impact on disease control. Let's look.
Bottom line first
Patients taught to identify the earliest signs of a bipolar episode--lack of sleep being the most significant warning of a manic episodes--can reduce the severity and frequency relapses.
This study in 60 words or less
Researchers enrolled 84 people in their 12-week program designed to help bipolar patients identify the earliest signs of an episode. After a year, participants experienced half the relapses of the control group, and had zero manic episodes. Lack of sleep was the signal symptom for manic episdoes. Both groups also took bipolar drugs.
Yes, but. . .
Results of scientists testing their own programs are often exaggerated. This program needs to be tested in a larger group by independent researchers to be considered valid from a research perspective.
The study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
This program is not yet available worldwide.
So what are you going to do about it?
You may want to discuss this report with your psychiatrist and other mental health professionals. Group programs of several different designs have proven effective at controlling relapse, so participating in any of them may have benefits.
As you self-monitor for relapses, be aware that identifying your own lack of sleep may be key to catching a manic relapse before it occurs.
Our site has a listing of groups that connect bipolar patients with group support programs.
Our site also offers resources on treatment options for identifying and controlling the disease.
Visit our community area for online support from experts and patients coping with bipolar disease.
Published On: August 27, 2007
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