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Pediatric bipolar disorder: Efficacy and core elements of adjunctive psychotherapy

David Axelson, MD
Section Editor
David Brent, MD
Deputy Editor
David Solomon, MD


Although pharmacotherapy is the primary treatment for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, adjunctive psychotherapy is nearly always essential [1,2]. Psychotherapy can provide support for patients and families, and address disruption of developmental processes (eg, family, social, and academic functioning), comorbidities (eg, substance use disorders) and preexisting behavioral problems, medication adherence, and relapse prevention. A relatively simple form of psychotherapy is psychoeducation, which appears to be efficacious and is a core element of more elaborate and intensive psychotherapies (eg, family therapy).

This topic reviews the efficacy and core elements of different adjunctive psychotherapies for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder. Choosing a specific psychotherapy is discussed separately in the context of an overview of choosing treatment for mania, comorbid disorders, and maintenance treatment. Other aspects of pediatric bipolar disorder are also discussed separately, including choosing treatment for bipolar major depression; the efficacy, administration, and side effects of second-generation antipsychotics for pediatric mania; the general principles of using pharmacotherapy; assessment and diagnosis; and the epidemiology, clinical features, and course of illness:

(See "Pediatric bipolar disorder: Overview of choosing treatment".)

(See "Pediatric bipolar major depression: Choosing treatment".)

(See "Pediatric mania and second-generation antipsychotics: Efficacy, administration, and side effects".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Apr 27, 2016.
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