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Keywords:

  • bipolar depression;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • insight;
  • mania

Objectives:  The aim of this 2-year prospective study was to examine changes in insight among bipolar patients with different clinical courses.

Methods:  A cohort of 65 patients with bipolar I disorder in remission was recruited for this study. They received six follow-up assessments over a 2-year period. The Schedule of Assessment of Insight-Expanded version (SAI-E) was used to determine their levels of insight, while the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) were used to determine affective symptoms. Types of changes in insight among bipolar patients were analyzed according to the different clinical courses during the 2-year follow-up period.

Results:  Insight in consistently stable patients was steady during the 2-year period. Insight decreased during the manic period in patients with only a single manic episode as well as in those with repeated manic episodes. However, insight returned to the pre-episode level for patients with only a single manic episode, but did not for most of the patients with repeated episodes. No changes in insight were observed during depressive episodes for either patients with a single or those with repeated depressive episodes.

Conclusions:  The types of insight changes among bipolar patients during the 2-year period were various and depended on the different clinical courses. Frequent mood disturbance episodes may cause patient insight to deteriorate.