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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic-depressive illness, is a mood disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. The mood shifts in bipolar disorder are different from normal ups and downs — they include periods of extremely “up,” elated, irritable, or energized behavior (known as manic episodes) and very “down,” sad, indifferent, or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). Learn more about bipolar disorder.

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For opportunities to participate in NIMH research on the NIH campus, visit the clinical research website. Travel and lodging assistance may be available.


Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

Effects of Theta Burst Stimulation on the Brain, Behavior, and Clinical Symptoms in Adults With Bipolar Disorder

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: April 6, 2021
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Eligibility: Ages 18–35, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Bipolar Disorder (BD) is a common and highly debilitating psychiatric disorder, however, the predisposing brain mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, the investigators aim to examine the immediate effect of transcranial brain stimulation (TBS) on brain activity and emotions in adults with and without BD as a first stage toward understanding the predisposing brain mechanisms of BD. The investigators hypothesize that TBS will reduce brain activity while playing a game with rewards in all adults, but the TBS will reduce brain activity more in the adults with BD compared to adults without BD. Furthermore, the investigators hypothesize that this reduced brain activity will be associated with reduced BD symptoms, such as negative emotions.

In-person vs. Remote Wellness Support

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: November 24, 2020
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Eligibility: Ages 18–65, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The study team will use components of the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework to compare Cognitive Adaptation Training (CAT) to Remotely delivered Cognitive Adaptation Training (R-CAT) 1-9 within a managed care organization (MCO), targeting members with serious mental illness (SMI) needing assistance with the regular taking of medication.

Intervention for Comorbid Substance Use and Bipolar Disorders

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: October 1, 2020
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

This trial aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a novel intervention for patients with co-occurring bipolar and substance use disorders following a psychiatric hospitalization. Half of the participants will receive a specialized psychosocial intervention program, while the other half will receive an enhanced safety monitoring program, both provided in addition to their routine care.

Project CARE: An Integrated Treatment Adherence Program for Bipolar Disorder at the Time of Prison Release - Pilot RCT

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: January 21, 2020
Locations: Cranston, Rhode Island; Providence, Rhode Island
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The aim of this program of research is to develop and pilot the CARE (Community treatment Adherence at Re-Entry) program, an adjunctive intervention for incarcerated individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) transitioning from prison to the community.

The purpose of this proposed project is to establish the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of this newly developed intervention on symptom outcomes in a small pilot randomized controlled feasibility trial.

Multi-modal Assessment of Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Function in Psychosis

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: January 16, 2020
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Eligibility: Ages 16–60, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this study is to better understand mental illness and will test the hypotheses that while viewing affective stimuli, patient groups will show increased blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal by fMRI after lorazepam.

This study will enroll participants between the ages of 16 and 60, who have a psychotic illness (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder). The study will also enroll eligible participants without any psychiatric illness, to compare their brains.

The study will require participants to have 3-4 sessions over a few weeks. The first session (may be over two visits) will include a diagnostic interview and several questionnaires (qols) to assess eligibility. Subsequently, there will will be two separate functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) sessions in which lorazepam or placebo will be given prior to the MRI. During the fMRI the participants will also be asked to answer questions. Additionally, the participants will have their blood drawn, women of child bearing potential will have a urine pregnancy test, vital signs taken, and asked to complete more qols.

Mechanism of Antidepressant-Related Dysfunctional Arousal in High-Risk Youth

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: December 31, 2015
Locations: Stanford, California; Cincinnati, Ohio
Eligibility: Ages 12–17, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

A 16-week double blind, placebo-controlled investigation of escitalopram in adolescents with depression and/or anxiety with a family history of Bipolar Disorder. Subjects will be evaluated using semi-structured diagnostic interviews and symptom ratings, participate in a MRI scan and then randomized to treatment. Following randomization, high-risk youth will have visits every week for the first 4 weeks of treatment then biweekly up to 16 weeks during which time tolerability and ratings will be performed. MRI scan will be repeated at week 4.

Evaluation of the Genetics of Bipolar Disorder

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: August 11, 1994
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 18 and Older, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This study looks to identify genes that may affect a person's chances of developing bipolar disorder (BP) and related conditions.