By On July 23rd, 2014

Impulse Control May Be An Indicator of Bipolar Disorder Treatment Responsiveness

A new study says individuals with bipolar disorder who have better trait impulse control are likely to respond better to treatment than those with poor impulse control.

“We found that better self-reported impulse control was the primary predictor of time to reach euthymia when compared to other clinical characteristics associated with disease course,” the researchers write in Bipolar Disorders.

Due to these findings, the researchers went on to suggest that treatment providers consider targeting impulse control as a potential protective factor among audits with bipolar I disorder.

The study evaluated 94 participants who had been hospitalized with bipolar I disorder and found that better self-reported impulse control on the Barratt Impulsiveness scale 11th edition (BIS-11) was significantly correlated with greater educational attainment, later age of illness onset, shorter illness duration, and fewer depressive symptoms.

Patients with good impulse control are less likely than those without to have comorbid psychiatric conditions which are often linked to poorer treatment outcomes. These conditions include alcohol or drug misuse and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In all, 26 of the patients reached euthymia – healthy mood – within 8 months of hospitalization and the likelihood of this outcome was even greater if patients showed lower baseline Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale scores, lower BIS-11 scores, shorter illness duration and did not have a lifetime history of marijuana misuse.

The researchers conclude that determining “whether better trait impulse control is associated with a less severe disease course versus better responsiveness to typical treatments represents an interesting avenue for future research and may help to guide future treatment planning in this population.”

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