Question: How effective is family therapy for the treatment of bipolar disorder?
Answer: The family therapy is a very important component of the treatment for bipolar disorder and should be practiced in addition to the medication treatment. The family therapy does two things; it improves medication compliance, and it also improves interactions that people have within the family.
There's a particular type of harmful interaction that's called expressed emotion, high-expressed emotion, which, as a one-liner, a combination of over-involvement and criticism. And the family therapy, a particular type called family-focused therapy, reduces this type of interaction. Our therapy that we practice at Beth Israel, family-inclusive therapy, also does so. In families with high-expressed emotion, there is much more relapse, and much more tension and much more stress. So when family therapy is practiced in addition to medication treatment, there is a much longer time between hospitalizations for patients with bipolar disorder. And also much more peaceful and friendly atmosphere in the house.