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A rollercoaster of emotions. Symposium on bipolar disorders presents new treatment methods.

Neuruppin, 15 February 2018

The Ruppiner Kliniken hosted a symposium on bipolar disorders (title: Bipolar disorders – a rollercoaster of emotions. Scientific and literary approach to a multifaceted psychiatric condition) last Wednesday. The event was co-organised with the Brandenburg Medical School.

Following an introduction, the audience enjoyed a very special reading session. Sebastian Schlösser, former theatre director in Hamburg and himself affected by bipolar disorder, quoted from his book in which he described his time as a psychiatry patient in letters to his son. Dr. Thomas Stamm from the Clinic of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics who hosted the symposium found Schlösser’s presentation highly impressive and realistic. Prof. Dr. Martin Hautzinger, a leading specialist in psychotherapy for bipolar disorder, followed with information on interesting alternatives and additions to conventional medication therapies.

Summing up, Stamm pointed out that bipolar disorders have multiple manifestations. The event therefore addressed a range of different treatment approaches. The concept was well received by participants, among them students, health professionals, patients and families. An important aspect, so Stamm, was to offer a forum to affected patients. Follow-up events are planned for the future.

Background

Stamm on the current state of research: “Bipolar disorders take a recurrent course in the majority of patients, which means they suffer repeated depressive or manic episodes that often involve considerable impairments in social, familial and professional life. A few years ago the orthodox view still was to positively influence the course of bipolar disorder with medication that affects a patient’s mood, and thus prevent new episodes in the long term. Today experts agree that medication alone is not enough. Adjunct psychotherapy has proved to be very helpful in many cases of bipolar disorders.”

On his current research project A2 Bipolife: “Scientific studies in the field are still in their early stages and findings are insufficient to date. Our clinic’s work group on affective disorders collaborates with the Brandenburg Medical School to identify specific psychotherapies that are most helpful in preventing, ameliorating or postponing new episodes.

A2 Bipolife makes Neuruppin the first non-metropolitan site to be included in a BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) financed research network on psychological diseases. We thus form part of the largest study worldwide on psychotherapy in bipolar disorder.” Stamm is first author of the pertinent study protocol published recently. “A special outpatient unit for clinical research in psychiatry and psychotherapy is currently being set up. We aim to provide elaborate, innovative and evidence-based services for patients over 18 with bipolar disorders and their families. Another objective is to expand our knowledge and understanding of this mostly lifelong condition. The long-term goal is to notably improve the care and treatment of patients with bipolar disorders in the region as well as nation-wide.”

Affected individuals with an interest in the study are invited to register at bipolar@mhb-fontane.de. Here is the flyer with information on the clinical study.

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