Functional remediation improves autonomy and overall functioning of patients with bipolar disorder

According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, patients with bipolar disorder who have followed a functional remediation program show better overall performance and a greater autonomy. The study has been coordinated by Dr. Eduard Vieta, Head of the Psychiatry Department at Hospital Clinic and head of the Research Group on Bipolar Disorder at IDIBAPS. There have participated 10 groups of the Networked Biomedical Research Center on Mental Diseases (CIBERSAM).

In this multicenter trial more than 200 patients with bipolar disorder from different Spanish autonomous communities were monitored for a year. It was observed that patients in the functional remediation group showed better overall performance and greater autonomy compared to the group receiving only medication even 6 months after completion of therapy.

The functional remediation program is a group intervention designed by the Bipolar Disorder Unit of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, that aims to improve psychosocial functioning of patients with bipolar disorder. It has been proven effective in a previous study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

"Functional remediation remains one of the pending objectives the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder", explains Dr. Eduard Vieta.

The functional remediation program

The functional remediation program consists of 21 sessions, distributed weekly, in which patients learn neurocognitive strategies for implementation in everyday functioning. Such strategies are aimed to enhancing the attention, memory, organization and planning activities, as well as better time management and problem solving. The program also includes techniques to deal with stress and improve some communication aspects related to social skills. Their implementation results in an optimization of the daily functioning of people with bipolar disorder.

In this study have participated CIBERSAM researchers from IDIBAPS and Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona, Hospital Gregorio Marañón in Madrid, FIDMAG Germanes Hospitalàries, University of the Basque Country, Santiago Apostol Hospital in Vitoria, IDIBELL of Barcelona, University of Valencia, Autonomous University of Madrid, University of Oviedo, and Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid.

Article reference:

Functional remediation in bipolar disorder: 1-year follow-up of neurocognitive and functional outcome.

Bonnin CM, Torrent C, Arango C, Amann BL, Solé B, González-Pinto A, Crespo JM, Tabarés-Seisdedos R, Reinares M, Ayuso-Mateos JL, García-Portilla MP, Ibañez Á, Salamero M, Vieta E, Martinez-Aran A; CIBERSAM Functional Remediation Group. The British Journal of Psychiatry.

DOI: doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.162123