Cognitive remediation: potential novel brain-based treatment for bipolar disorder in children and adolescents

CNS Spectr. 2015 Aug;20(4):382-90. doi: 10.1017/S109285291500036X.


Bipolar disorder (BD) is among the most impairing psychiatric disorders affecting children and adolescents, despite our best psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments. Cognitive remediation, defined as a behavioral intervention designed to improve cognitive functions so as to reduce psychiatric illness, is an emerging brain-based treatment approach that has thus far not been studied in pediatric BD. The present article reviews the basic principles of cognitive remediation, describes what is known about cognitive remediation in psychiatric disorders, and delineates potential brain/behavior alterations implicated in pediatric BD that might be targets for cognitive remediation. Emerging data show that cognitive remediation may be useful in children and adults with schizophrenia, ADHD, and anxiety disorders, and in adults with BD. Potential targets for cognitive remediation in pediatric BD include face processing, response inhibition, frustration, and cognitive flexibility. Further study is warranted to determine if cognitive remediation for these targets, or others, may serve as a novel, brain-based treatment for pediatric BD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Bipolar Disorder / therapy*
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Cognition*
  • Humans