Hypnotic susceptibility and affective states in bipolar I and II disorders

BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Nov 9;17(1):362. doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1529-2.


Background: Highly hypnotizable individuals have impaired executive function, elevated motor impulsivity and increased emotional sensitivity, which are sometimes found in bipolar disorder patients. It is then reasonable to assume that certain aspects of hypnotic susceptibility differ with the types of bipolar disorder.

Methods: The Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Form C (SHSS:C) test, the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ), the Hypomanic Checklist-32 (HCL-32) and the Plutchick-van Praag Depression Inventory (PVP) were applied to 62 patients with bipolar I disorder, 33 bipolar II disorder, and 120 healthy volunteers.

Results: The passing rate of the SHSS:C 'Moving hands apart' item was higher in bipolar I patients than in controls, whereas for 'Mosquito hallucination' the rate was lower. Bipolar I and II patients scored significantly higher on MDQ, HCL-32 and PVP scales than controls. The passing rates of 'Mosquito hallucination' in controls, 'Arm rigidity' in bipolar I, and 'Age regression' in bipolar II predicted the respective MDQ scores.

Conclusion: In contrast to cognitive suggestions, bipolar I patients followed motor suggestions more often under hypnosis. Furthermore, both bipolar disorder patients and healthy volunteers demonstrated associations between mania levels and certain hypnotic susceptibility features. Our study aids in better understanding the altered conscious states in bipolar disorders, and encourages the use of related psychotherapy for these patients.

Keywords: Bipolar I and II disorders; Depression; Hypnotic susceptibility; Hypomania; Mania.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / therapy*
  • Checklist
  • Cyclothymic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Cyclothymic Disorder / psychology
  • Cyclothymic Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / diagnosis
  • Hallucinations / psychology
  • Hallucinations / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis / methods*
  • Male
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mood Disorders / psychology*
  • Mood Disorders / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult