Why are we doing this study?

Individuals with bipolar disorder typically experience periods of extreme high and low mood (mania and depression). Bipolar disorder is treated with medication, yet many people continue to experience relapses. Enhanced Relapse Prevention is a psychological approach developed by members of our research team which is effective in reducing relapse and improving functioning in Bipolar Disorder.

We have been looking at ways in which we can make ERP available to more people with bipolar disorder who may benefit from it. The Spectrum Centre and Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust have been awarded funding from the National Institute for Health Research to develop ERP into an online web-based version, and to assess how well an online version works. ERP-online was developed in the first stage of this research by researchers and clinicians in collaboration with service users.

This study aims to find out how well ERP online works for the prevention of relapse among individuals with bipolar disorder and how acceptable it is to use. We will explore if individuals with bipolar disorder are interested in receiving Enhanced Relapse Prevention online (ERP-online), how many participants take part in the trial, and if participants participate for the whole of the study. We will also explore how effective the intervention is in reducing relapse for individuals with bipolar disorder compared to participants who continue to receive only their usual treatment. Service users have been involved in designing the study and will be involved in carrying out the research.

Treatment development studies such as this one are useful to enable the development of psychological interventions which aim to improve quality of life, and reduce associated problems in bipolar disorder, including relapse.