Background: The present open study investigates the feasibility of Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in groups solely composed of bipolar patients of various subtypes. MBCT has been mostly evaluated with remitted unipolar depressed patients and little is known about this treatment in bipolar disorder.
Methods: Bipolar outpatients (type I, II and NOS) were included and evaluated for depressive and hypomanic symptoms, as well as mindfulness skills before and after MBCT. Patients' expectations before the program, perceived benefit after completion and frequency of mindfulness practice were also recorded.
Results: Of 23 included patients, 15 attended at least four MBCT sessions. Most participants reported having durably, moderately to very much benefited from the program, although mindfulness practice decreased over time. Whereas no significant increase of mindfulness skills was detected during the trial, change of mindfulness skills was significantly associated with change of depressive symptoms between pre- and post-MBCT assessments.
Conclusions: MBCT is feasible and well perceived among bipolar patients. Larger and randomized controlled studies are required to further evaluate its efficacy, in particular regarding depressive and (hypo)manic relapse prevention. The mediating role of mindfulness on clinical outcome needs further examination and efforts should be provided to enhance the persistence of meditation practice with time.
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