Skip to content

COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.

Get the latest public health information from CDC: https://www.coronavirus.gov
Get the latest research information from NIH: https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus
Get the latest shareable resources on coping with COVID-19 from NIMH: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/covid19

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.

Join A Study

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.

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.

Technology Enhanced Family Treatment

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: November 15, 2018
Location: Los Angeles, California
Eligibility: Ages 13–19, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The investigators propose to enhance the scalability of family-focused therapy (FFT), a 12-session evidence-based therapy for youth at high risk for mood disorders, through augmentation with a novel mobile phone application called MyCoachConnect (MCC). In adolescents with mood instability who have a parent with bipolar or major depressive disorder, clinicians in community clinics will conduct FFT sessions (consisting of psychoeducation and family skills training) supplemented by weekly MCC "real time" assessments of moods and family relationships; based on results of these assessments and the family's progress in treatment, clinicians will then push personalized informational and coaching alerts regarding the practice of communication and problem-solving skills. The investigators hypothesize that the augmented version of FFT (FFT-MCC) will be more effective than FFT without coaching/informational alerts in altering treatment targets and in stabilizing youths' mood symptoms and quality of life.

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 Patients With Mood and Anxiety Disorders and Healthy Volunteers

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: February 2, 2001
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 3–99, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this protocol is to allow for the careful screening of patients and healthy volunteers for participation in research protocols in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Lab (ETPB) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and for the collection of natural history data. In addition the protocol will allow clinicians to gain more experience in the use of a variety of polysomnographic and high-density EEG recordings. Subjects in this protocol will undergo an evaluation which may include: a psychiatric interview; a diagnostic interview; rating scales; a medical history; a physical exam; brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); electroencephalography (EEG); electrocardiography (EKG), magnetoencephalography (MEG); blood, saliva and urine laboratory evaluation; and a request for medical records. Subjects may also be asked to complete questionnaires about attitudes towards research and motivation for research participation. The data collected may also be linked with data from other mood and anxiety disorder protocols (e.g., brain imaging, DNA, psychophysiology tests, treatment studies, etc) for the purposes of better understanding the diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment response of patients with mood disorders. Parents of minors will be interviewed. Upon conclusion of the screening process, subjects will either be offered participation in a research protocol and will sign the appropriate informed consent, or will be considered not appropriate for participation in research and will be referred back into the community. The current protocol thus serves as an entry point for individuals with mood or anxiety disorders or healthy volunteers to enter NIMH IRB approved ETPB protocols.

Evaluation of the Genetics of Bipolar Disorder

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: June 30, 1982
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.