Date Published: 19 April 2011

Mood swings of bipolar patients can be predicted

Health News from Manchester, England (UK).

People who suffer from bipolar disorder are prone to extreme mood swings that take them from great emotional highs to the pits of depression.

The cause of these mood swings is often attributed to the patients' genes and biology (which they cannot change) rather than their own thoughts and actions (which are ultimately within the control of the patients). If it can be shown that bipolar disorder is due in larger part to patients' thoughts and actions that they can self-manage when taught how to do so there may be greater hope of recovery for many patients with bipolar disorder. That would indeed be good news for many people.


Psychologists from the Universities of Manchester and Lancaster have recently found evidence suggesting that the future mood swings of people with bipolar disorder can be predicted by their current thoughts and behaviour. According to the researchers their findings are important because they mean talking therapies, like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), could be effective treatments for the condition.

The results of this recent study have been published in the journal Psychological Assessment. Their report describes the researchers method in which they followed 50 people with bipolar disorder for a month. They found that the patients' thinking and behaviour predicted their future mood swings even when their medical history had been accounted for.

" Individuals who believed extreme things about their moods – for example that their moods were completely out of their own control or that they had to keep active all the time to prevent becoming a failure – developed more mood problems in a month's time," said study lead Dr Warren Mansell, in Manchester's School of Psychological Sciences.
" In contrast, people with bipolar disorder who could let their moods pass as a normal reaction to stress or knew they could manage their mood, faired well a month later. These findings are encouraging for talking therapies – such as CBT – that aim to help patients to talk about their moods and change their thinking about them."

A new form of CBT, known as TEAMS (Think Effectively About Mood Swings), is being developed by Dr Mansell and his colleague, at Manchester Universit. TEAMS aims to improve on previous therapies by focusing on current problems such as depression, anxiety and irritability, and helping patients to set goals for their life as a whole. The purpose of TEAMS is to encourage patients to accept and manage a range of normal emotions – such as joy, anger and fear.

Source: Manchester University, England (UK)

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