People diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder experience four or more separate episodes of depression and hypomania within the span of one year. Therapists have recently implemented cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to focus on treating depressive symptoms and reducing suicidal risk when caring for patients diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.

In a study reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, researchers trained rapid-cycling bipolar disorder patients to utilize CBT skills to identify and respond to negative core beliefs, such as “Nobody cares about me” or “I am incompetent.” Addressing these beliefs is essential when administering CBT because they are likely to intensify the depressive episodes. Through implementing CBT, patients were also able to develop anxiety-management strategies and reduce symptoms of depression.

Study authors: N. A. Reilly-Harrington, T. Deckersbach, R. Knauz, Y. Wu, T. Tran, P. Eidelman, H. G. Lund, G. Sachs, A. A. Nierenberg