Impulsivity and bipolar disorder

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2007 Apr;17(5):313-20. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2006.10.002. Epub 2006 Nov 29.


Impulsivity is frequently associated with bipolar disorder (BD) during manic episodes, but may also be present in euthymic bipolar patients. Aggression is an impulsivity-related behavior also found during manic episodes. The objective of this review is to further clarify the relationship between impulsivity and BD. A search in Medline and Psycinfo databases, combined with a manual search of selected references, was conducted to identify available literature on BD and impulsivity-related features. Although few studies have directly measured impulsivity in BD, available findings suggest that impulsivity is not only state-related, but also a trait component of BD, which could represent a core feature of the illness. Further research exploring the neurobiology of the impulsivity/BD relationship may contribute to elucidate the pathophysiology and to improve the diagnosis and treatment of this severe illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology
  • Bipolar Disorder / complications*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / etiology*
  • Suicide