Decision making

What is decision making?

Decision making requires an individual to use their knowledge and experience of a context in order to choose a course of action. A person’s ability to autonomously make decisions is referred to as their decisional capacity. Effective decision making aims to increase the likelihood of a favourable outcome in the relevant context, selecting responses that avoid unfavourable or harmful outcomes. People with bipolar disorder may show altered decision-making processes and impairments in their capacity to provide informed consent to medical or psychiatric treatment. People with impaired decisional capacity may not be able to understand information relating to the decision; appreciate the significance of the information and apply the information to decision-making; reason and compare potential consequences of the decision in a logical process; and/or communicate this decision.

A person’s ability to make decisions may vary depending on the time or nature of the decision they are making. Decision making and decisional capacity may be associated with other areas of cognitive functioning, with a certain level of mental functioning required to make the most appropriate decisions in the situation.

What is the evidence on decision making in people with bipolar disorder?

Moderate to high quality evidence suggests more risky choices in people with bipolar disorder and a history of suicide attempts compared to both healthy controls and people with bipolar disorder and no history of suicide attempts.

March 2019

Last updated at: 1:28 am, 31st March 2019
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