Acceptance, coping strategies and health behaviors in bipolar disorder patients taking and not taking lithium carbonate
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Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Submission date: 2021-06-23
Final revision date: 2021-12-06
Acceptance date: 2021-12-16
Online publication date: 2022-01-18
Publication date: 2022-01-18
The variety of dysfunctions in bipolar disorder (BD) affects patients’ perceptions of the diagnosis, acceptance, and illness. Treatment of people with BD includes pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Maintaining long-term therapy is difficult, related to the patients’ overall approach to health. The aim was to assess health attitudes in people with BD treated with different mood stabilizers.

Material and methods:
The study group included 40 patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Participants were divided into two groups depending on the medication taken: a group taking lithium (n = 20) and a group not taking lithium, treated with other drugs (n = 20). The respondents were measured with psychological tests – Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination, Illness Acceptance Scale, Health Behavior Inventory, and Coping Inventory in Crisis Situations.

85% of the respondents stopped taking medication at least once without the doctor’s knowledge. People taking lithium had a significantly lower acceptance of the disease (t = –2.27, p = .015). The study groups did not differ in terms of coping with stress and health behaviors. The correlation analysis indicated that the acceptance of disease and health behaviors are significantly associated with selected coping strategies.

Attitudes towards health, understood as acceptance of the disease, coping with stress, and health behaviors are average. It is advisable to develop an optimal approach to activities connected with the daily health maintenance of the patients in order to better cope with the disease and its symptoms.

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