For patients with bipolar disorder, mania-related memory bias is a predictor of mania recurrence, according to results published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. These results suggest that employing interventions that target patients’ insights into their internal states may help improve outcomes in bipolar disorder.
The study included adult participants with bipolar disorder (n=76). Participants were randomly assigned to 9 months of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or 9 months of support therapy (ST). Participants were followed up for 2 years after completing therapy. Affective learning memory (via the Emotional Auditory Verbal Learning Test) and other measures were assessed. The primary outcome was recurrence of a mood episode.
After analysis, the researchers found that the interaction between therapy condition and a recognition bias in favor of mania-related words (such as “self-confident” or “talkative”) predicted the recurrence of mania. This effect was not found with depression-related words (such as “sad” or “pessimistic”) and recurrence of depression.
“These results highlight the need for further studies on the association between interindividual differences in affective cognitive biases and treatment outcome to psychological interventions in patients in general and more specifically with [bipolar disorder],” the researchers wrote.
Meyer TD, Hautzinger M, Bauer IE. A mania-related memory bias is associated with risk for relapse in bipolar disorder [published online April 7, 2018]. J Affect Disord. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.04.044