Decision making

What is decision making in bipolar disorder?

Decision making involves using knowledge and experience to choose a course of action. A person’s ability to autonomously make decisions is referred to as their decisional capacity. Effective decision making increases the likelihood of a favourable outcome by selecting responses that avoid unfavourable or harmful outcomes. People with bipolar disorder may show altered decision making and impairments in their capacity to provide informed consent to 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 found poor decision making ability in people with the disorder. People with a history of suicide attempts showed more risky choices than those without a history of suicide attempts.

September 2021

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Last updated at: 1:23 pm, 15th March 2022
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