Previous studies have revealed psychosocial and cognitive impairments in patients during depression. The primary aim of this study was to investigate whether patients with major depression (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD) differ in psychosocial and neurocognitive profiles. A second aim was to examine whether cognitive impairments are homogeneous among depressed patients. Patients with MDD (n=16) and BD (n=14) were enrolled during a major depressive episode. About half of them had comorbidities, including personality, substance use, and anxiety disorders. Information was collected about symptomatology and psychosocial functioning, whereas an exhaustive neuropsychological battery was administered to assess cognition. During a depressive episode, MDD and BD patients had global psychosocial dysfunction, characterized by occupational and relational impairments. A cognitive slowing was also observed, as well as deficits related to alertness, spontaneous flexibility, sustained and divided attention. Moreover, severity of depression and cognitive functions were significantly associated with psychosocial functioning. In the case of severe mood disorders, psychosocial and neurocognitive functioning seem similar among MDD and BD patients during a depressive episode. In addition to an altered daily functioning, the neurocognitive profile was heterogeneous with regard to the nature and extent of cognitive deficits. Executive functions, as well as verbal learning and memory, were preserved better than attentional processes.
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