Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Bipolar Priority Setting

The priority setting partnership for bipolar is now complete.

Why did we need your help?

This two year project was set up to identify unanswered questions about bipolar - its causes, diagnosis, treatment, care and prognosis. New technologies and approaches to understanding bipolar are becoming increasingly available.

These advances expand the scope of research making it more important than ever that future research is guided by people with personal or professional experience of bipolar.

The direction of research is often set by researchers or by the drug industry. We wanted to enable patients, carers, family members and the health and social care professionals who look after those with bipolar to have their say, so that future research is aligned with what matters to everyone whose life is affected by bipolar.

National survey

We conducted an initial national survey to gather questions that mattered most to people with bipolar, their families and health and social care professionals.

3283 people responded to the survey, resulting in 14,492 questions about the causes, diagnosis, treatment, care and prognosis in bipolar.

These questions were then analysed, resulting in 71 questions which were voted on in a second survey to identify the top 35.A workshop was then held to prioritise the top 35 and select and agree on the top 10 questions for research.

Find out more about our survey.

The top 10 research questions

  1. What causes bipolar?
  2. How can treatments be tailored to individuals?
  3. What is the most effective combination of self-management approaches, therapy and medication?
  4. What are the best ways to manage suicide risk among people with bipolar?
  5. What could be done for people who do not get better with treatment?
  6. What are the best ways to manage the side-effects of medication (including weight gain, problems with thinking and memory, and emotional numbness)?
  7. Why does it take so long to get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and how could time to diagnosis be shortened?
  8. Which are the best medications for treating episodes and for prevention of relapse in bipolar?
  9. How effective are talking therapies such as counselling, dynamic psychotherapy and CBT?
  10. Can medications with fewer side-effects be developed?

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