New findings could provide a tool for people with bipolar disorder and clinicians to predict relapse and intervene in a timely manner — ScienceDaily

Relapse in people with bipolar disorder can be predicted accurately by their tendency towards having pessimistic beliefs, according to a study published today in eLife.

The results could provide an urgently needed tool for doctors to predict upcoming relapse and provide timely treatment.

Bipolar disorder is characterised by successive periods of elation (mania) and depression, interspersed with asymptomatic phases, called euthymia. People who have shorter periods of asymptomatic euthymia are more likely to suffer disability, unemployment, hospitalisation and increased suicidal feelings. However, predicting relapses using existing clinical diagnostic tools or demographic information has proven largely ineffective in bipolar disorder.

“It is already known that people with depression tend to give negative information more weight than positive information, leading to pessimistic views that may make symptoms worse,” explains lead author Paolo Ossola, Research Fellow at the Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Italy. “We wanted to test the

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