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 PITTSBURGH, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Pittsburgh

Medical Center has received a five-year grant totaling more than $2.5 million to study the effectiveness of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for treating and preventing episodes of bipolar disorder, it was announced today.
 Bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic-depressive disorder, is characterized by recurrent episodes of both depression and mania (abnormally elevated moods with irritability and extreme hyperactivity). Approximately 50 percent of bipolar patients experience a recurrent episode of mania or depression within two to three years after their first episode.
 "The study will determine whether IPT adds to lithium drug therapy in treating and preventing recurrent episodes of bipolar disorder," said Ellen Frank, Ph.D., director of the Depression Prevention Program at Pitt. "Lithium, which has been the standard treatment for bipolar disorder, is much less effective than we would like. Used alone, the drug prevents new episodes in fewer than half of bipolar patients. Improving this record would be of major importance."
 Bipolar disorder can lead to considerable impairment in social and occupational functioning. Individuals in a manic episode experience at least three of the following characteristics: inflated self-esteem; decreased need for sleep; more talkative than usual; flight of ideas or racing thoughts; distractibility with rapid changes in speech or behavior; goal-directed activity involving excessive participation in school or work; and overindulgence in pleasure-seeking activities which have a high risk for painful consequences, such as sexual indiscretions and unrestrained buying sprees.
 In order to determine whether a combination of psychotherapy and drug treatment is more helpful than drug therapy alone, study participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group will undergo IPT specific to treating bipolar disorder, and the other will receive no IPT. Lithium will be given to all.
 "We are hopeful that our new approach to treatment, which emphasizes regularizing daily routines and managing interpersonal stresses more effectively, will add significantly to the preventative effects of lithium," said Frank.
 The study -- funded by the National Institute of Mental Health -- will involve 200 participants, ages 21 to 65, who have a history of mania and depression. In addition to receiving free therapy, individuals will be asked to complete several interviews regarding stressful life events and keep a record of daily activities. For more information, please call 412-624-1000.
 -0- 1/30/92
 /EDITORS: Interviews can be arranged by calling Kathia Kennedy or Gloria Kreps at 412-624-2607./
 /CONTACT: Kathia Kennedy or Gloria Kreps of Health Sciences News Bureau, 412-624-2607, or fax, 412-624-3184/ CO: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:

CD -- PG003 -- 5058 01/30/92 08:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 30, 1992

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