Intrusive memories and images in bipolar disorder

James D. Gregory, Chris R. Brewin, Warren Mansell, Catherine Donaldson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Modifying intrusive memories and images is a powerful intervention in depression and anxiety disorders, but little is known about the presence of these intrusions in bipolar disorder. A semi-structured interview was administered to 29 euthymic patients with bipolar disorder, requiring them to report the intrusive memories and images recalled from their most recent episode of euthymia, depression and hypomania. Euthymia was characterised by intrusive memories of the past, which were less distressing than the memories experienced in depressed states. In addition to intrusive memories, depression was associated with vivid images focussed on death and suicide. Intrusive memories were rare in hypomanic states, which instead were characterised by vivid, enjoyable images of future events. Behaviours and emotions in different bipolar states may be amplified by characteristic intrusive memories and images, suggesting novel opportunities for therapeutic intervention. For example, intrusive images may be particularly important prodromal indicators and hence require greater emphasis in relapse-prevention programmes. Rescripting that incorporates negative elements into overly positive images may also be valuable in minimising the extent of hypomanic episodes. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)698-703
    Number of pages5
    JournalBehaviour research and therapy
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


    • Bipolar disorder
    • Depression
    • Imagery
    • Intrusion
    • Memory


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