Effectiveness of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy on Executive Function, Emotional Control and Severity of Symptoms in Patients With Bipolar I Disorder

Adv Biomed Res. 2019 Sep 30;8:59. doi: 10.4103/abr.abr_42_19. eCollection 2019.


Background: Bipolar disorder is a disabling illness characterized by recurrent episodes of mania, hypomania, and depression. The dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is basically designed to help regulate excitement, tolerance of discomfort, mindfulness and interpersonal relationships. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of DBT on executive function, emotional control and symptom relief in patients with type 1 bipolar disorder.

Materials and methods: This clinical trial was conducted on 50 patients with type 1 bipolar disorder. These patients were divided into two 25 populated groups of controls and intervention. The control group did not receive any other alternative therapy apart from routine medications, but in the intervention group, in addition to routine medications, DBT treatment was also done as complementary therapy in 12 sessions based on Dick's protocol. Then, Mania severity, emotional control and their executive functions were evaluated before and after the intervention and compared in two groups.

Results: After the intervention, the scores of mania and depression mood with the mean of 2.12 ± 3.09 and 31.08 ± 8.98 respectively in intervention group were significantly lower than control group with the mean of 4.24 ± 4.11 and 39.92 ± 9.05 respectively (P < 0.05). Depression and executive function of the patients had no significant difference between the two groups in the post-intervention period and had a modest and non-significant change.

Conclusion: DBT has been effective in decreasing the intensity of mania, but, it cannot be used to reduce the emotional instability and impulsivity of these patients along with drug therapy although it has improved the executive functions and depression of the patients.

Keywords: Bipolar I disorder; dialectical behavioural therapy; emotional control; executive function.