Mindfulness for Bipolar Disorder (Balans)


Bipolar Disorder is characterized by its severe and chronic course, with patients suffering from recurrent depressive, (hypo)manic, and/or mixed episodes, sometimes with psychotic features. Currently, mood disorder medication is the first-line treatment of bipolar disorder. However, it has become evident that pharmacotherapy alone is insufficient, since 60% of patients relapse within two years. Furthermore, some patients do not want to take medication, partly because of unpleasant side effects. Patients require alternative, psychological treatments. Some studies have shown promising results of MBCT for bipolar disorder, including improvements in depressive and anxiety symptoms, and overall functioning.


Is mindfulness a valuable addition to usual care in patients with bipolar disorder? We will measure the effects of mindfulness on depression, levels of anxiety, relapse, and quality of life. We will also examine the cost-effectiveness.

Study population

Adults with a bipolar disorder (type I or II).


Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions; condition 1 consists of usual care and condition 2 consists of MBCT (with usual care). On different time points (baseline and after 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 months) participants will be asked to complete some interviews and questionnaires. Participants who are assigned to usual care will be offered MBCT afterwards. In total 144 bipolar patients participated in this study.


Participants were recruited from May 2018 to February 2020. The last follow-up assessments will take place in May 2021, after which data-analyses will start. We expect to present the results in the fall of 2021.


This study is executed by Imke Hanssen (psychologist and junior researcher), Marloes Huijbers (psychologist and post-doc researcher), and Anne Speckens (professor in psychiatry). Different external sites are involved, including Altrecht, Pro Persona, Dimence, PsyQ, and Lentis.

More information

For questions or more information, feel free to contact Imke Hanssen:
E-mail: Imke.Hanssen@radboudumc.nl
Phone: 024-3615445

W: http://www.balans-onderzoek.nl/

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