What are available practice guidelines for bipolar disorder?

There are numerous practice guidelines available for bipolar disorder which cover both bipolar I and bipolar II. While no practice guidelines are a substitute for the clinical judgement and decision making of your clinician, they can offer useful information and serve as a good reference. Many guidelines discuss use of medications like lithium and other mood stabilizers as well as antipsychotic medications during different phases of the illness including acute mania and bipolar depression. They also offer input on psychosocial interventions, lifestyle interventions, and managing co-morbid conditions. It is important to note that your treatment may often not be the same as recommended in a guideline for several reasons including the fact that many guidelines are not updated to reflect the newest evidence, the need to personalize your care to your unique needs, and the clinical experience of your clinician.  You can read several guidelines that CSS-SMI  has assembled including ones from a commercial insurer, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the British Association for Pharmacology (BAP), the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD),  and the European National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Of note, these are offered as references and we do not endorse any one guideline, but instead recommend you discuss your personal treatment with your clinical team.

U.S. Guidelines

Magellan’s Update of its Introduction to the American Psychiatric Association’s Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Bipolar Disorder (Magellan Healthcare, published 2017)

Guideline Watch: Practice Guideline for Patients with Bipolar Disorder, 2nd Edition (APA, published 2005)

International Guidelines

Evidence-based guidelines for treating bipolar disorder: revised third edition recommendations from the British Association for Pharmacology (Journal of Psychopharmacology, published 2016)

Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) 2018 guidelines for the management of patients with bipolar disorder (Bipolar Disorders, published 2018)

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Bipolar Disorder-Assessment and Management (NICE, published 2018)

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