Trial tests new technique to manage mood swings within bipol
Researchers have conducted a new trial to identify how an existing psychological therapy can be adapted to help people cope with and manage frequent Bipolar mood swings.

A subgroup of those with bipolar spectrum disorders experiences ongoing mood fluctuations outside of full episodes. These shifts in mood can sometimes make it difficult to live life to the full and can be a source of difficulties in relationships with others. There are currently few therapy options available for people living with dramatic weekly, daily, or even hourly mood swings.

The ThRIVe-B program, carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter, involved taking an existing psychological therapy for another group of people that aims to help with emotion regulation, known as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DPT), and adapting it for people who have these frequent bipolar mood swings.

DPT teaches skills both in acceptance of situations and emotional responses and is currently offered to people who have a diagnosis of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.

The study took place in Devon and Cumbria and 43 participants were placed randomly into two groups. Half of the participants received the new therapy. The other half continued with their usual NHS care.

Participants were invited to reflect upon their behavioral response to extreme mood and activation states day-to-day and modify this where necessary. In DPT this is achieved by building mindful awareness skills and through giving participants a framework through which to appraise their emotional responses and to develop alternative ways of relating to and managing these.

Overall, the study shows that there is demand from people with bipolar for psychological therapy addressing ongoing mood instability and that a larger trial of a therapy like this is feasible.

International Journal of Bipolar Disorders