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New Approach for Anxiety in Bipolar Disorder

New Approach Targets Anxiety in Bipolar Disorder

UK researchers have developed a new therapy approach to manage anxiety among individuals with bipolar disorder (BD).

Anxiety associated with bipolar disorder is linked to worse clinical outcomes including increased suicidality. Lancaster University investigators said that despite effective psychological treatments for anxiety, research for treatment of anxiety in bipolar disorder (AIBD) is not well-developed.

In the new study, Professors Steven Jones and Fiona Lobban offered adults with both bipolar disorder and clinically significant anxiety symptoms either treatment as usual or the novel intervention. The new AIBD intervention comprised 10 sessions of psychological therapy.

Sessions were supported by client workbooks including client therapy record and anxiety recovery plans, lived experience accounts of anxiety and BD, and information about additional resources and support.

AIBD therapy providers were flexible in terms of location and session duration.

“The individualized formulation-driven approach took into account level of engagement and motivation and explored links between anxiety and bipolar experiences, including issues around functioning, to elicit personally valued treatment goals,” Jones said.

A customized intervention plan was provided for each participant and included appropriate cognitive-behavioral strategies focused on addressing anxiety experiences and consequent behavior.

A cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) approach typically includes learning more about the nature of an individual’s anxiety symptoms then developing coping strategies for dealing with them. CBT techniques such as relaxation and breathing techniques, cognitive restructuring, behavioral experiments, thought monitoring and challenging and adaptive problem-solving are utilized.

Participants indicated they valued the intervention in contrast with previous forms of support received. They identified the benefits of treating anxiety and BD together, in contrast with previous experiences of having these problems addressed separately.

Coping strategies were helpful in:

• overcoming anxiety-based social isolation and functional limitations;
• increasing confidence in dealing with BD.

Professor Jones said, “The trial was successful in demonstrating feasibility and acceptability of selection, recruitment and intervention procedures. Although AIBD was generally well received, some participants wanted more sessions.”

Source: Lancaster University

New Approach Targets Anxiety in Bipolar Disorder

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). New Approach Targets Anxiety in Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 24 Jul 2018 (Originally: 24 Jul 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 24 Jul 2018
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