The purpose of this study was to show the effects of education on medication compliance, symptom level and quality of life of outpatients who were being treated with lithium for bipolar disorder. The study was performed comparing a total of 26 patients (14 study and 12 control) who were a patient group in lithium therapy. In the study one group was given a short education program about the disorder and lithium therapy in three sessions. Data were collected from both groups using a medication knowledge form, Brief Symptom Inventory, and WHO Quality of Life Scale before and after the intervention. At the end of 3 months whereas there was no difference seen in the scores of the control group; the study group had an increase in medication knowledge, a decrease in symptom level, an increase in quality of life, and a beginning of more regular medication use. Findings that were obtained show the importance of education about the disorder and medication in increasing the adaptation to society of patients who have bipolar disorder. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.