Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for child and adolescent bipolar spectrum disorders.

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Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for child and adolescent bipolar spectrum disorders.

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2014;43(3):339-55

Authors: Fristad MA, MacPherson HA

Pediatric bipolar spectrum disorders (BPSDs) are serious conditions associated with morbidity and mortality. Although most treatment research has examined pharmacotherapy for pediatric BPSDs, growing literature suggests that psychosocial interventions are also important to provide families with an understanding of symptoms, course, and treatment of BPSDs; teach youth and parents methods for coping with symptoms (e.g., problem solving, communication, emotion regulation, cognitive-behavioral skills); and prevent relapse. Thirteen psychosocial intervention trials for pediatric BPSDs were identified via a comprehensive literature search and evaluated according to the Task Force on the Promotion and Dissemination of Psychological Procedures guidelines. All interventions were examined adjunctive to pharmacotherapy and/or treatment as usual (TAU). No well-established or questionably efficacious treatments were identified. Family psychoeducation plus skill building was probably efficacious (i.e., Multi-Family Psychoeducational Psychotherapy, Family-Focused Treatment); cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) was possibly efficacious. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) were experimental. Limited research precluded subdivision of treatments by format and age. Only single- and multiple-family psychoeducation plus skill building and CBT were evaluated with children. Only single-family psychoeducation plus skill building and DBT, and individual (commonly with limited familial involvement) CBT and IPSRT were evaluated with adolescents. In conclusion, psychosocial interventions that involve families, psychoeducation, and skill building may offer added benefit to pharmacotherapy and/or other TAU. Limitations of current research include few outcome studies, small samples, and failure to use stringent control conditions or randomization. The review concludes with a discussion of mediators and moderators, recommendations for best practice, and suggestions for future research.

PMID: 23927375 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]